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Earthquake insurance costs in southeastern Missouri increased 816% over 20 years | national news

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(Central Square) – Many residents of eastern Missouri may have checked their earthquake insurance after a 2.8-magnitude earthquake on April 29.

Three days later, the Missouri Department of Commerce and Insurance (DCI) released a new earthquake insurance market report showing historic declines in insurance coverage in the state’s riskiest areas. Earthquake-covered dwellings in the New Madrid area — Mississippi, New Madrid, Pemiscott, Dunklin, Stoddard and Scott counties in southeastern Missouri — decreased from 60.2% in 2000 to 11.4% in 2021. During that period, earthquake insurance premiums increased by 816 %.

While price and unavailability of insurance are potential factors for lower coverage, the DCI report stated that another possible reason is that some consumers believe they already have coverage. In the St. Louis area, near the epicenter on Friday, between 34 and 53% of dwellings have earthquake coverage compared to 8-16% in New Madrid.

DCI’s latest report found that the average annual home insurance premium for earthquake coverage is $285 in St. Louis and $589 in New Madrid.

Julie Dutton, a scientist with the US Geological Survey’s National Earthquake Information Center, said it’s difficult to quantify the amount of damage that may be done to homes and businesses during earthquakes of varying magnitudes.

“It’s a difficult question to answer because you have so many variables,” Dutton said. “You have the depth of the earthquake and the type of ground movement along with the types of structures in the area. Some construction collapses before some other structures. There is no really measurable answer.”

Consumer research by DCI, the Center for Insurance Policy and Research at the National Association of Insurance Commissioners, and the Center for Community Crisis and Disasters at the University of Missouri has found that many homeowners in southeastern Missouri are unaware that current homeowners’ standard insurance policies do not cover earthquake damage.

“Despite our efforts, earthquake coverage in Missouri’s most at-risk areas has fallen to a record low, and the gap between the insured and the uninsured continues to grow,” said DCI Director Clara Lindley Myers. Report announcement statement.

DCI estimates economic losses at $300 billion in the event of a major earthquake in Missouri.

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