Why Don’t More People Have Earthquake Plans on their Home Insurance?

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  • The recent semi-major earthquake in Napa Valley, California, once again brought to light a fact that many experts might find disturbing: The vast majority of people in the Golden State don’t have earthquake protection policies attached to their home insurance plans. However, in a lot of cases the reason for this is really quite simple. But, regardless of the motivations behind such a decision, it would be wise for agents to make sure they’re educating their clients about the risks they may face when it comes to skipping out on certain types of protection – especially when their homes are at an elevated risk for any specific type of incident that wouldn’t be covered under their normal plans.

    The simple fact is that as few as 10 percent of homeowners in California have this type of protection, and in many cases, that’s only because it’s fairly expensive on an annual basis, according to a report from the New York Times. The latest data from the California Earthquake Authority suggests that the average cost of this coverage is about $800 per year, but for those who live closer to fault lines than others, it could be significantly more than that.

    Another issue
    Furthermore, another issue plagues many of these policies, and might be a deterrent for many owners: The deductibles on them can be quite high, the report said. Usually, that number is between 10 and 15 percent of a home’s value, so even a property carrying the median price in that state (around $400,000) would have to incur significant damage before consumers even received a cent from their insurers. Therefore, those who figure they’re just going to be stuck with a $40,000 or even $60,000 bill regardless of coverage might not see the value in paying perhaps as much as $1,000 per month for this kind of coverage.

    Insurance agents who can educate consumers as to the importance of tacking on additional coverage – even if the cost may initially seem prohibitive – might end up being able to help their clients considerably over the course of their relationship. The more that can be done to offer consumers peace of mind and exemplary customer service, the better those relationships might be going forward. And thus, when an agent can additionally mix in the occasional discount for a consumer, that might further add to their loyalty, consequently increasing retention rates.

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