Recently ASA Insurance President Creed Anderson was interviewed by Salt Lake City CBS affiliate KUTV regarding the potential threat of a major earthquake occurring in Utah. KUTV reporter Brian Mullahy approached several insurance providers after the recent earthquakes in Idaho, Utah, and Mexico to find out if the events had any effect on Utah homeowners. “There’s been a spike in phone calls,” said Creed, who suspected recent disasters, including Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria, may be factors. “It gets the attention of people.”
And rightly so! The University of Utah Seismic Stations (UUSS) regularly monitors seismic activity in the state, and their findings indicate that many areas are vulnerable, including Salt Lake City. Home insurance policy owners don’t always include coverage for earthquakes in their package; but according to UUSS findings, they would do well to add it. There are several active areas along the Wasatch fault between Brigham City and Levan that are especially vulnerable, though an earthquake could strike on any of the other recognized faults throughout the state. The Wasatch fault is by far the most active however, and over the last six thousand years major earthquakes have occurred at the rate of one every four hundred years. According to those records, the chances of a major quake in Utah during the next fifty years is one in four!
If an earthquake of magnitude 7.5 or more occurred along the Wasatch fault the damage would be substantial. In addition to causing surface displacements of between ten and twenty feet, the intense shaking of an earthquake could cause damage up to fifty miles from its center. Areas located in valleys could experience an increase in intensity of up to ten times more due to the relative looseness of the ground compared to those with a hard rock foundation. In addition to the tremor damage, an earthquake can also cause landslides, rockfalls, and more critically, tilting of valley floors, which could cause the Great Salt Lake or Utah Lake to empty into parts of Provo and Salt Lake City.
The cost of resulting property damage from such an event could run into billions of dollars, and even a smaller quake with a magnitude of 5.5 could generate damage approaching the billion dollar mark. Such events are not as rare as you may think in Utah, in fact since 1850, there have been fifteen such earthquakes. Since 1960, there have been seven with a magnitude of 5 or more, including one of 6 which happened in Pocatello Valley on the Utah – Idaho border on March 27, 1975.
Wherever you live in Utah, adding earthquake insurance to your current package is a wise and simple choice. ASA offer the lowest rates in the state, and are able to tailor a policy that suits your personal needs and budget. Don’t get caught out by Mother Nature; an earthquake insurance policy is a small investment relative to the security it provides for your family and your future.