Consumer Watch: Earthquake Insurance


by Consumer watch, designed to protect you from getting ripped off.

Posted on August 15, 2009 at 6:39 PM

Updated Tuesday, Oct 13 at 4:25 PM

Louisville, Ky. (WHAS11) - None of us will forget it, unless you slept right through. Just before 6 a.m., our houses rattled and shook across Kentuckiana in the spring.

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This Consumer Watch takes us back to that thunder under Louisville.

One family is still feeling the effects after they say their home suffered serious damage. They called WHAS11's Andy Treinen, and Andy answered.

It was a wake up call like no other, and breaking news on Good Morning Kentuckiana.

Pictures from a building at 309 Kentucky in downtown Louisville showed some of the damage left behind and that morning, calls flooded 911.

Eddie Norris is one of the few who actually has earthquake insurance, but he says it's not doing him much good.

Eddie's been with Nationwide Insurance for 25 years, his wife Karen for 18.

They filed a claim after noticing new cracks in the foundation of their home. It was built in 1990, they've lived there since 1992.

He says as far as he knows the cracks weren't there before the earthquake. Eddie says they were there after the quake.

The problem the Norris' face is that they can't prove that the damage right here was caused by an earthquake. In fact, how do you do that?

They've got two different companies that have written estimates for the repairs. Both of these companies indicate it was caused by an earthquake.

Both Cardinal Foundation and Basement Technologies of Louisville assessed the damage, and on their estimates, attributed the earthquake.

But the insurance company told the Morris' that the cracks were caused by settling, and not the earthquake.

Nationwide told Andy on Wednesday that they inspected the home and hired an independent structural engineer to do the same. They said the customer is their top priority and issued this statement: Nationwide is always willing to work with the customer to resolve their concerns regarding a claim. Nationwide will re-inspect and re-estimate a claim if there is a policyholder concern over the value of the estimate

Many of you are probably wondering whether earthquake insurance is a good deal or not?

Understand that you'll pay at least a 10% deductable on the value of the home before the insurance company picks up any cost. So you're in for $20,000 on a $200,000 home.

However, it hasn't happened here, but if a home suffered a total loss, the insurance would pay off.

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