The 5.8 magnitude earthquake that shook the East Coast on Tuesday afternoon may have shaken up homeowners in more ways than one: they may have to foot the bill for any repairs out of their own pockets instead of relying on their homeowners’ insurance policies. Most East Coast policies lack coverage for earthquake damage, so homeowners may be on the hook if they find the quake resulted in a need for repairs.
A Bloomberg News report cited Michael Barry, a spokesman at the Insurance Information Institute in New York, as saying that protection from earthquake damage is generally excluded from standard homeowners’ policies, resulting in the need to purchase separate coverage or a rider to an existing policy.
The U. S. Geological Survey said that the quake, which was centered near Mineral, Virginia in the “Central Virginia Seismic Zone,” was a “reverse faulting on a north or northeast-striking plane” in a region known for shallow focal depths—which means that the quake was felt in a broad geographical area, from North Carolina to Chicago to Martha’s Vineyard. It damaged the Washington Monument and the National Cathedral, as well as buildings as far away as New York City. It shut down nuclear power plants in the region and alarmed residents, and many buildings were evacuated, including the White House, the Capitol Building, and the Pentagon.