Nationwide Raises Earthquake Coverage Deductible

January 4, 2008

Nationwide Mutual Insurance Co. is raising the deductible on its earthquake coverage because of the risk of major losses from an earthquake.

Columbus-based Nationwide is raising the deductible from 2 percent to 5 percent of a home’s insured value. Nationwide is among the country’s top ten biggest homeowners’ insurance companies and second-biggest in Ohio.

“This is one way Nationwide manages its risk. There is potential for serious earthquake loss in Ohio,” said company spokeswoman Nancy Smeltzer.

Although earthquakes are most commonly associated with the West Coast, at least seven of magnitude 2.0 or higher have hit northeastern Ohio in the past year or so.

During the past five years, Ohio has had more than 30 quakes, according to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources.

Allstate Insurance stopped offering coverage in Ohio last year. One reason is the rarity of earthquakes in Ohio, spokeswoman Karen Spica said, although Allstate can arrange coverage through a third party for customers who want insurance.

“Earthquake insurance in Ohio is really only for people who are afraid they’d lose everything in an earthquake,” said Mary Bonelli, a spokeswoman for the Ohio Insurance Institute, a trade group based in Columbus.

Information from: The Columbus Dispatch,

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