Earthquakes are rare but can be massive in damage

Homeowners in Utah need to be aware of what is and isn’t covered by a standard home insurance policy. Earthquake activity in Utah, popularly known as “earthquake country,” can cause significant damage to a property, but earthquake coverage is typically not included in standard Utah home insurance policies.

How Much Does Utah Home Insurance Cost?

According to the Insurance Information Institute, in 2010, the average annual premium for homeowners insurance in Utah was a relatively low amount of $558. The cost of a policy is determined by several factors.

The age and construction of a home play a role in how much a person may pay for insurance. An older home will cost more to insure because it is more likely to have problems with the plumbing, foundation, roofing, and electrical wiring. Meanwhile, a home built primarily with brick will be cheaper to insure compared to a house made mostly of wood because it is less of a fire hazard. A home’s location can help determine the cost of insurance as well. A house in a high-crime area or one in an area that has a history of earthquakes or floods may cost more to insure.

What Does It Cover?

Home insurance in Utah typically covers fire and lightning damage, theft, vandalism, windstorms, and other named perils. However, most insurance policies do not cover flood and earthquake damage. Earthquake insurance is important because Utah is a seismically active state. Liability coverage is typically included in most policies. If you are found responsible for an injury someone sustained on property you own or rent, the insurance policy will pay for legal representation, court fees, and medical expenses up to the policy limit.

Do I Have to Get Home Insurance in Utah?

Home insurance is not required by law in Utah. However, buying insurance can help protect your house and property against damage from unforeseen circumstances, and liability for accidents that injure other people or damage their property. The Utah Insurance Department has more information for consumers about homeowner’s insurance.

Optional Coverage to Consider

  • Flood. Flood insurance is typically not included in most policies. Although Utah is a relatively dry state, it does have several floods per year that sometimes result in dangerous landslides. Flood insurance policies can be purchased from insurance companies as well as the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP).
  • Fire and Lightning. Damage from fire, smoke, and lightning is typically covered in the most basic plans. Still, it’s a good idea to check your policy to see how much coverage you have since a fire can lead to the loss of your entire home and all of your belongings. Some insurance companies offer discounts if you have fire and smoke alarms, fire extinguishers, and sprinklers in your home.
  • Earthquake. Insurance companies in Utah typically do not include earthquake insurance in their policies. Utah has an average of six earthquakes per year that are rated at least 4.0 on the Richter scale. Not only that, but one of Utah’s most populated areas, Salt Lake City, is located in one of the most seismically hazardous regions in the state, according to the United States Geological Survey. The cost of earthquake insurance in Utah is determined by insurance companies in two ways: the location of the house within a geographical region, or the specific state. If a company determines the cost based on location within the state, they will charge more to insure homes within regions that have a history of seismic activity. If they determine the price by the state, then location within the state won’t be used to determine the final cost of insurance.

Mobile Home Insurance in Utah

Mobile home insurance, sometimes called manufactured home insurance, is similar to home insurance in that it provides coverage for your mobile home in case of a fire, explosion, riots, falling objects, and other named perils. The protection extends to the structure of your home, your property within including furniture, appliances, and clothing, and in some cases your property outside of your home. Flood insurance is typically not included in mobile policies, so you will need to purchase a separate policy.

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