Lieutenant Governor Tregenza A. Roach Esq., who also serves as the U.S. Virgin Islands Commissioner of Insurance, encourages the territory’s property owners to check their homeowner’s insurance policy and make sure it includes earthquake insurance coverage.
“In the U.S. Virgin Islands, earthquake coverage is generally included by endorsement when you buy a standard homeowner’s insurance policy, but you must make sure that it is included”, said Lt. Gov. Roach.
Roach advises residents of the following information:
Do not exclude earthquake or windstorm/hurricane insurance coverage from your homeowner’s insurance policy.
If you have a mortgage, your bank or mortgage company will require you to buy homeowners insurance.
If you own your home outright with no mortgage or liens, make sure you still buy homeowners insurance. Do not exclude earthquake or hurricane coverage from your insurance policy whether you have a mortgage or not.
Even if your bank has purchased a force-placed policy on your behalf, you can still purchase a policy that includes earthquake coverage and has the force-placed policy replaced.
Avoid buying basic coverage, such as a standard fire policy only.
Earthquake insurance does not include coverage for floods or a tsunami. Your policy will show this language as an “Exclusion.”
Generally, the deductible for earthquake coverage is the same as the deductible for hurricane/windstorm coverage in a standard homeowner’s insurance policy.
Should your property suffer damages from an earthquake, you would have to file a claim with your insurer or agent as soon as possible.
The claim adjustment process would be similar for earthquake damages as with hurricane or windstorm damages. An adjuster licensed by the Division of Banking, Insurance and Financial Regulation is required to visit your property to inspect damages.
You must buy a separate flood insurance policy because a homeowner’s insurance policy does not cover flood.
For further information, contact the Division of Banking, Insurance and Financial Regulation on St. Thomas in Nisky Center, 2nd floor at 774-7166 or on St. Croix at 1131 King Street in Christiansted at 773-6459.
Residents may also visit the Office of the Lieutenant Governor’s website at www.ltg.gov.vi to get a copy of the Division of Banking, Insurance and Financial Regulation’s brochure: “Be Ready for an Earthquake and Tsunami.”