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Earthquake insurance an expensive option in Gallatin County

Posted: 9:18 PM, Jul 15, 2019
Updated: 2019-07-16 12:01:52-04

BOZEMAN, Mont. – On Saturday night, many were wondering the same thing in Gallatin County: “Did you just feel that?”

Some were probably also wondering if they had earthquake insurance.

According to Gallatin County Emergency Management, Gallatin County is very prone to earthquakes.

Montana is the fourth most seismically active state in the U.S. On the risk scale it ranks just below most of coastal California, but just about 95 percent of Gallatin County doesn’t have earthquake insurance. That’s because it comes with a hefty price tag.

“On some of them it’s as little as $500, and they can go over $1,000 just depending on the construction of your home and the value of your home. It’s not cheap and it only covers earthquake insurance, where your home insurance covers just about everything else,” Owner and Insurance Agent at Farmers Insurance Nick Homec said.

The epicenter of the earthquake on Saturday was northwest of Manhattan with a magnitude of 4.0; several people felt the shake across Gallatin County.

Many also picked up the phone and called their insurance agent to see what kind of coverage options are available.

“In this case, the deductible started at 10 percent. So her home was insured for about $700,000, was the reconstruction amount. So 10% of 700,000 is 70,000, so you’re out $70,000 before the insurance kicks in. And on top of that, it added about close to $1,000 a year to her insurance. So 1,000 extra dollars plus a $70,000 deductible, it makes it pretty rough,” Homec said.

Homec added that with earthquake insurance, any damage caused by earth movement is covered. 

Insurance agents mention the earthquake insurance option to customers, but most decide to opt out.