Earthquake and Colorado are not usually words you hear in the same sentence, but the recent 5.3 quake in southern Colorado is a reminder that earthquakes can - and do - happen. Fortunately this quake only caused minor damage, but if an earthquake hits close to your home, the biggest damage will probably be to your wallet!
Homeowners insurance policies don't cover earthquakes, but you can generally buy a rider to add the coverage to your policy. And in areas that rarely experience major earthquakes, like Colorado, the coverage is relatively inexpensive. You can add a rider to your home insurance policy for around $150 per year to make sure your insurance company would help you repair or rebuild after an earthquake.
When can you - and can't you - buy earthquake insurance? Most insurance companies will not allow you to add the earthquake coverage to your policy within 30 days of an earthquake that measures 5.0 or higher if you live within 100 miles of the epicenter. The residents of Trinidad would have to wait an entire month from the date of the quake in order to get coverage, which means they're on their own for any damage from after shocks or additional quakes.
What about getting help from the state? Colorado officials say they have no money to help earthquake victims in southern Colorado. Department of Local Affairs spokeswoman Linda Rice says the state is providing technical assistance, including geological analysis, aerial photography and water quality testing but there is not money available to help with the costs of damage.
No insurance and no help from the state means you're on your own! Although Colorado earthquakes are rarely felt, they are happening at a surprising pace. A complete history of Colorado earthquakes can be found at http://earthquake.usgs.gov/earthquakes/states/colorado/history.php. Colorado has had a 6.6 quake and a 4 year period that recorded over 1300 quakes. If you find your property damaged, expect to pay for all repairs out of your own pocket.