Earthquake Insurance for Arkansas - worth it?

Posted by Melissa Weeks

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Nov 4, 2013 1:36:00 PM

Earthquake coverage is something that you do not have coverage for unless you’ve added an endorsement to your homeowner’s policy, or bought a separate policy for it.  The Arkansas Insurance Department requires you to sign an earthquake coverage declination if you choose not to have this coverage.  Some agents don’t try to sell this insurance coverage. Some don’t even tell you it’s excluded. You signed the exclusion, along with 10 or 15 other pages.  Maybe you recently realized you didn’t have this coverage, or maybe you’re motivated to look now that I’ve brought it to your attention. The cost is roughly a couple hundred dollars a year, unless you live in high risk area, if you’re even able to get it in your area.

You start to wonder…should I keep it or if I don’t have it, should I have it added?  Earthquake coverage is something that most homeowner’s insurance in Arkansas do not have. The likelihood of us needing it is significantly less than some of your more common coverages, like wind damage. We’re known for tornados, not earthquakes.

As an agent I get asked this question quite often - do I need this coverage?  I cannot answer that question for you, although I can help you answer it.  I personally carry this coverage on my policy.  I believe this is something that I may never need but if I ever do I will be happy I have. So, when you ask me if you need this coverage, my response is “I have it on my policy…”. How can I tell you not to get something that I have?

Think of the damage an earthquake could do, and not even a huge earthquake. The ground shifts, your slab cracks; there’s a 3 inch gap running down the middle of your house. Repairable? Probably not. Is your house a total loss? Not at all. Can you still live there? No.

An earthquake can break the backbone of your house. Small damage, yet detrimental. A large enough earthquake… and your home is broken in a hundred different places, if it’s still standing.

Just imagine if your home completely crumbled to the ground?  What then?  Where would you live and how would you afford two mortgage payments?  The bank doesn’t care that your house is uninhabitable - they just want the money you promised to pay.  It is not their fault you didn’t have this coverage. Sound drastic? Here’s some numbers for you:

3 of the largest/strongest eartquakes to hit the United States were from the New Madrid Fault. If you don't count Alaska, those 3 move up to the top 7 to ever hit the continental US.

Where is the New Madrid Fault you might ask? :



The New Madrid Fault goes south from Illinois, down through Missouri, through Blytheville, AR, even through Marked Tree, AR, and crosses the Mississippi River in 3 places.

Did you know that the Missouri boot heel was due to earthquake damage. Not that it damaged the border, but because John Walker purchased all the land in that area from damaged-ridden owners who were moving out. He was adament that his land be a part of the new Missouri. He convinced the law makers to include him. Done! Money talks, and apparently he had money.


They say the New Madrid earthquake of 1811 was so powerful that it rang church bells as far away as Boston, MA.

The Associated Press reports that Oklahoma’s insurance commissioner advised Oklahoma residents to purchase earthquake insurance after a national report suggested the seismic activity in central Oklahoma was "here to stay".  I believe that between Oklahoma’s seismic activity and the reports from the north central and north eastern part of our state (the New Madrid Fault), you should be convinced earthquake coverage is something worth having.


Think we should consider earthquake coverage? My answer to you is "I have it".

Are you a new home buyer in need of insurance in Arkansas? Earthquake coverage is something you should consider.

My name is Melissa, and I help consumers find affordable home insurance in Arkansas.

The Gann Agency is an independent insurance agency in Bryant Arkansas.

I would love for you to contact me if you have any questions regarding earthquake insurance in Arkansas, or any of your homeowners insurance needs.

Contact Melissa


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