The recent earthquake and ensuing tsunami in Japan are frightening reminders of Mother Nature’s power. Natural disasters kill thousands of people throughout the world each year. In 2010, over 250,000 people worldwide lost their lives due to earthquakes, floods, and other natural disasters, according to the World Health Organization (WHO). The US Geological Survey estimates from 2000 – 2010 there was an annual average of 63,000 deaths worldwide from earthquakes alone.
In the US, earthquakes are not responsible for near as many deaths, though nearly every state experiences earthquakes. Hurricanes have historically been known for scores of fatalities in the US. In 2005, Hurricane Katrina and the subsequent flooding took the lives of approximately 1,836 people, according to Wikipedia.
The natural disasters with the highest death rates on average in the US are:
- Flash Floods – 150 people each year
- Lightning – 90 people each year
- Tornadoes – 80 people each year
Despite these numbers and the assumed risk of living in areas prone to natural disasters, life insurance companies do not decline applications for coverage, charge higher premiums or deny paying claims based on the area of the country in which a person lives. Residents of Kansas do not get declined just because they live in ‘Tornado Alley.’ Residents of southern California do not pay higher premiums because they live near the San Andreas Fault. And people in Florida will not be denied life insurance benefits because their loved ones died in a hurricane.
So although you may live in an area that experiences more than your share of these natural disasters, your life insurance coverage is no different from those who live in ‘safer’ areas of the country.