A significant earthquake in the country's Mid-Atlantic region? Really?
Unless you are new to the area, you probably remember that the first earthquake to hit Maryland since 1990 happened on the morning of July 10, 2010. It was a magnitude 3.6 quake with the epicenter in Gaithersburg that was felt in the Washington DC metro area and beyond.
Now, just over a year later, we have experienced the magnitude 5.8 earthquake centered in Mineral, Virginia, just south of Washington, DC. Everyone knows how rare earthquakes are here on the east coast of the United States, but many wonder if it could happen again. Michael Oskin, Geological Professor at UC Davis tells Reuters News that there likely will be aftershocks felt, not only for days and weeks, but for months following this earthquake, and Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) experts concur.
If live or work in Maryland, Virginia or surrounding states, would you be prepared to withstand another sizeable earthquake and its aftershocks? Might you find yourself isolated by a quake? FEMA warns that you might need to be self-sustaining for hours or perhaps even days afterward such an event. Thus, having at least a minimal supply of food, drinking water and access to your medications and other essentials could be critical to your survival.
You might not be able to travel. Earthquakes can damage roads, bridges, train tracks, bringing traffic to a stop and disrupting rail and air traffic at least temporarily.
In the recent Mineral, VA earthquake, cellular phonse were unreliable. If you were unable to reach your family by phone, would they know what to do, where to go? Often in such an emergency, a text message will go through where a voice message will not; but -- if it were to occur right now -- would you have the necessary phone numbers at hand to use if needed?
Depending on the severity of it, an earthquake can structurally damage homes and other buildings, interrupt electric and gas service, shatter glass and otherwise create the potential for severe injury. Are you confident that your home would withstand earthquake damage?
Of course, given the history, the probability of a significant east coast earthquake is remote; but should you take time to make an emergency plan, just in case? FEMA offers a valuable earthquake resource website, with detailed checklists showing the steps to take before, during and after an earthquake.
If you believe earthquake damage is possible, it's important to know in advance whether your insurance will cover it. Usually, a standard homeowners policy will not cover damage from earthquakes, but special coverages could be available depending upon where you live and what insurance company issues your policy. Post-earthquake fire damage will probably be covered through your homeowners policy; and earthquake damage to your vehicles could be covered by special provisions in your auto insurance policy. It is very important to check with your insurance agent well before an disaster strikes in order to be prepared, should you have losses caused by an earthquake.
Here at Henry A. Latimer & Son, Inc., our professional agents can review your current insurance policies and discuss your best option to be prepared for earthquake damage. Contact us anytime, we welcome the opportunity to be of help.