People looking to shake things up in their lives should live in one of two places in Ohio; and they couldn’t be further apart, either.
In an annual study conducted by the independent Ohio Insurance Institute the twin locales for most likely seismic activity is an area that broadly includes Allen, Auglaize, Mercer and Shelby counties in western/southwestern Ohio, and the Northeast tier of Ohio consisting of Geauga, Cuyahoga and (especially) Lake and Ashtabula counties.
Stats employed by the Ohio Insurance Institute are provided by the Ohio Department of Natural Ohio Seismic Network. The network is a series of remote seismic monitoring devices that electronically record and reveal the data on a near real-time basis.
Chronically under-funded and largely staffed by volunteers, the Network survives with a lick, prayer and bailing wire along with whatever federal government funding floats down the grant-supply revenue stream.
Anyway, the data the Network compiles is welded with statistics gleaned by the Ohio Insurance Institute.
Together their picture shows that Ohio recorded 18 tremors in 2011, up from the nine in 2010, and also four-and-one-half times the number recorded in 2009.
Likewise the to-date number of temblors stands at 10. That figure is two more earthquake events recorded during the same time frame in 2013, says the Insurance Institute.
A cost price-point is important to remember as well. That vital piece of news comes about because most general homeowner’s insurance policies do not cover damage resulting from an earthquake.
Thus an Ohio property owner looking for assistance after an earthquake event should weigh heavily purchasing an inexpensive rider to a homeowner’s or property owner’s policy.
And compared to those states where earthquakes are seemingly a daily affair and more volatile to boot, Ohio’s earthquake insurance rates are cheap, too, the Insurance Institute says.
Here is a for instance: In Ohio, earthquake insurance averages about 47 cents per every $1,000 of coverage for a home/building made of brick and masonry. For a wooden structure that cost is even less; about 25 cents per every $1,000.
Run on over to the Pacific Northwest and earthquake insurance there can cost up to $15 per every $1,000 for a brick and masonry structure and up to $3 for a wooden building.
Yes, structures built from brick and such are more expensive to insure than those made by materials cut down by the History Channel’s “Axmen.”
The reason is because buildings constructed of brick typically sustain greater damage than those structures constructed from good old, reliable wood.
Ah, but don’t just yet get all enamored with earthquake insurance. Not if you live in one of those Ohio counties where Gov. John Kasich and his economic bottom-line zealots contend that hydraulic fracturing (fracking) is worth the cost of someone else’s troubles.
Like you if your house starts to rumble and that set of century-old china comes crashing to the floor.
In the case of fracking the Ohio Insurance Institute has determined that 36 percent of surveyed insurance companies operating in Ohio would (or will) exclude earthquake damage that had been determined was caused by fracking.
So there you have it; pay the man now in the form of a cheap to modest earthquake insurance rider or pay the contractor lots more when you are left to pick up the pieces of your tremor-damaged home.
Unless the earthquake event came about as the result of fracking, of course. In which case send the bill to Gov. John Kasich or Ohio Department of Natural Resources Director James Zehringer.
I’m sure either one would enjoy a good laugh.
- Jeffrey L. Frischkorn
Jeff is the retired News-Herald reporter who covered the earth sciences, the area's three county park systems and the outdoors for the newspaper. During his 30 years with The News-Herald Jeff was the recipient of more than 100 state, regional and national journalism awards. He also is a columnist and features writer for the Ohio Outdoor News, which is published every other week and details the outdoors happenings in the state.