JOPLIN, Mo. — In 2020, the Missouri Department of Commerce and Insurance shared the “Residential Earthquake Coverage in Missouri” report to assess earthquake insurance coverage.
“If that earthquake hit this house right here, there’s a million dollars coming in,” said Randy Kraft, CEO of Kraft Insurance Services.
But, that’s a big “if.”
“If there’s no earthquake coverage on it, you’ve got a destroyed house, and you have nothing, and now you’ve got a loss of close to a million dollars, so there’s the trade-off,” Kraft added.
That risk is a big factor in the “Residential Earthquake Coverage in Missouri” report. It looks specifically at the risks involved with the New Madrid Fault that dominates Southeast Missouri.
If and when the fault creates an earthquake is unknown — however, if it does, the experts say it would cause damage and concerns even in Southwest Missouri.
“It’s happened once a couple hundred years ago, and there’s every possibility it could happen again,” said Keith Stammer, Jasper County Emergency Management.
The state predicts that if the New Madrid Fault creates an earthquake, there would be a 10% damage rate. We would see things like large cracks in roads, bridges, and other infrastructure damage.
That would likely come with a big price tag.
“The main economic effect, I think, would be transportation, at least for us. Because you’re going to lose a huge number of bridges between here and the St. Louis area, and all the down toward Atlanta. The end result is, I think, our infrastructure is going to suffer a lot of wear and tear, because of the huge increase in traffic, particularly on the North-South roads,” Stammer said.
The report shows that less than 12% of houses in Southwest Missouri have earthquake insurance — and many companies don’t offer it.
That’s something Randy Kraft of Kraft Insurance hopes local home owners will at least consider.