State of Missouri Earthquake Report Reveals Up To 10 Percent Chance of Major Earthquake In State During Next 50 Years

If you live in Missouri you are probably aware of the fact that, within our state, is the New Madrid fault, a 150-mile long fault that covers portions of five states, including the New Madrid are of Missouri.  The New Madrid fault zone was the location of three (or some say four) of the largest earthquakes ever recorded on this continent, reaching a magnitude as high as 7.0 – 7.5.  These massive earthquakes occurred at the end of 1811 and beginning of 1812.  What you may not know, is the impact an earthquake in New Madrid may have on your home in the St Louis area.  The State of Missouri Division of Insurance just released it’s “State of Earthquake Coverage” report for 2015 which is filled with information every homeowner in the eastern portion of the state should be interested in.

The U.S. Geological Survey Department (USGS) has estimated the probability of a magnitude 7.5 or greater earthquake in the New Madrid zone over the next 50 years is between 7-10 percent. The probability of an earthquake exceeding magnitude 6 over the same time period is 25-40 percent.  The Missouri earthquake report cites a joint assessment by the Mid-America Earthquake Center of the University of Illinois and the Federal Emergency Management Agency that estimated a major New Madrid event could entail total economic losses of $300 billion, damage 715,000 buildings, and result in 86,000 casualties and 3,500 fatalities. “It would constitute the highest total economic loss of any natural disaster in US history.”

As the map below shows, the damage from an earthquake in the New Madrid area would reach all the way to the northern most part of our state, in the eastern portion of Missouri.  Therefore, for homeowners  throughout the area, earthquake insurance should be strongly considered.  Unfortunately, as the report shows, the cost of earthquake coverage in this area is much higher than other parts of the state due to the higher risk.  In fact, as the table below shows, earthquake coverage in the New Madrid counties is 329% higher than in low-risk counties of Missouri.

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