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Homeowners lose — by a landslide

  Jody and Chris Morphy are two Amherst residents who, like most homeowners, didn't spare much thought to their homeowners insurance until disaster struck. When their property suffered a landslide that made their home uninhabitable, they naturally assumed that their homeowners insurance would protect them.

   It didn't.

   The state does not require insurance companies to provide "earth movement" coverage in standard homeowners insurance policies, and none even offer a rider that can be purchased separately to cover this kind of loss.

   Residents can buy earthquake insurance, but any earth disturbance must be caused by an actual earthquake, which is not the case here.

   This type of coverage is rarely needed in this region and could increase premiums if it is a required add-on. Should homeowners' policies be allowed to exempt this type of damage?

   -- Sandra Tan



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