If I live in Ohio, should I purchase earthquake insurance for my home or business?
Historically, there have been 15 earthquakes in the state that have caused minor to moderate damage. However, the probability of such damage in any given year is low, but this varies in different parts of the state. Seismically active zones, such as Allen, Auglaize, Mercer, and Shelby Counties in western Ohio and Ashtabula, Cuyahoga, Geauga, and Lake Counties in northeastern Ohio have a higher risk than does central and eastern Ohio, which have had almost no earthquakes. The epicenter map of Ohio provides a depiction of historical seismicity. Southwestern Ohio has earthquake risk from its proximity to the New Madrid, Missouri seismic zone. Building construction and the type of geologic material upon which the home is built are significant factors as well. Un-reinforced masonry buildings are more susceptible to earthquake damage than are buildings of frame construction. Buildings built on thick, unconsolidated sediments (such as fill along river valleys) are likely to experience greater shaking than buildings built on or close to bedrock.
In making the decision to purchase an earthquake rider on building insurance, one should evaluate the factors noted above and determine the deductible amount on the rider. Then one should consider the probability that damage from an earthquake will exceed the deductible during the projected time of ownership of the building. However, this is not an exact or predictable science and individuals should make this decision on both facts and level of comfort in having, or not having, earthquake insurance.