earthquake wall crack

Reader tells us her wall cracks got worse after Tuesday’s quakes

Tuesday night to Wednesday morning, we had 12 little earthquakes in North Texas.

I definitely felt one, the strongest one said to be a 3.6 on the Richter Scale. My son lives near Palo Alto where they had a fierce 6.0 quake this summer. He usually laughs at my earthquake reports — especially the photo of knocked over lawn furniture saying, “We will rebuild.” But Tuesday night, he wasn’t laughing.

“It’s a rumble,” he agreed, as I tried to describe the sound our Texas quake made as my lights flickered for a second. I was unloading dishes from the dishwasher and had just set down a wine glass. Saw a slight shimmy. The dog was confused. My mother in law was freaking, and I got chills for a minute. My insurance man had been texting me, so I texted him and asked, do we have earthquake coverage?

He is in Lubbock. He thought I was kidding! No, he said, even when he found out about the 3.6. He says he’s never written an earthquake policy in Texas during his life. I turned the question to a few local insurers, including one of our new sponsors, Charles Polansky, a Private Client Advisor at HUB International Personal Insurance here in Dallas. He has been on the phone non-stop with clients since Tuesday.

Nick Klein with HomeTeam Insurance also says his phone has been ringing off the wall, at least 60 clients have contacted him since the rumbles. He thinks a majority will not be adding earthquake insurance, except for those with Travellers and MetLife. Those are two companies that give insureds the option to add earthquake insurance as an endorsement to their existing homeowners policy.

But those deductibles will be high — a minimum of 10 percent.

Nick also writes in California where the earthquake deductibles are 10 percent minimum. Try that on a $3 million dollar home, which is almost an average price.

“The clients we quoted are scared,” said Nick. He also thinks the more and more we have earthquakes in North Texas, the less likely insurance companies will be to add earthquake insurance as optional coverage.

“In Cali, very few companies even offer it,” he says.”People get it from a state pool, like people in hurricane-prone areas.”

I put Charles through the ringer with a Q & A Tuesday night as the earth was rumbling. Jump for the whole thing.

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Azle News Front Page

Photo: WFAA

Several North Texas homeowners, especially those in Azle and near Eagle Mountain Lake, are concerned that expanded shale gas exploration and hydraulic fracturing may be causing the rash of seismic activity that has these communities all shook up.

To address these concerns, the Texas House Subcommittee on Seismic Activity is holding a hearing today at 1 p.m. The committee, headed by State Rep. Myra Crownover (R-Denton), will listen to expert testimony on the subject. Here’s what the agenda says:

“Study the current conditions surrounding the increased seismic activity in
the Barnett Shale and other areas of the State. Specifically, review the
possibility that increased exploration and disposal well activity could
impact seismic activity. The committee shall review active oil and gas
activity and injection wells in areas experiencing increased seismic
activity.”

The increased seismic activity has some homeowners worried about their home values, which has many considering updates to their homeowners insurance policies. Earthquakes, much like floods, aren’t usually covered in typical homeowners policies, so if you think your home is at risk for earthquake damage, you might want to read our piece on how fracking-related seismic activity is sending tremors through insurance companies.