The Insurance Commissioner of the US Virgin Islands, Lt. Gov. Tregenza Roach Esq., advised the residents to check their homeowner’s insurance policies and verify whether they were covered for earthquakes and other natural disasters, such as hurricanes and windstorms.
According to Roach, the earthquake coverage is usually included in a standard homeowner’s policy by endorsement. However, to make sure that it’s really included, making some verifications is recommended.
Roach also gave reminders to help residents optimize their policy. He said that insurance coverage for earthquakes, windstorms, and hurricanes should not be excluded in one’s policy. He also warned residents to avoid signing up for a basic policy that only offers fire coverage. It’s worth noting that earthquake insurance doesn’t cover floods or tsunamis — hence, they will be marked as “excluded” in the policy. Lastly, Roach urged homeowners to buy a separate flood insurance policy as it is also not covered in standard home insurance.
Going back to earthquake coverage, Roach emphasized that its deductible is the same as the deductible for windstorm/hurricane coverage in standard home insurance. When a property has been damaged from an earthquake, policyholders must file a claim with an agent or insurer as soon as possible. Meanwhile, the claims adjustment process for earthquake and hurricane/windstorm damages is no different. For the said process, a licensed adjuster would be required to inspect the property for damages. To learn more about earthquake coverage, residents may contact the Division of Banking, Insurance, and Financial Regulation by calling 774-7166 (St. Thomas) or 773-6459 (St. Croix).