According to multiple scientific organizations, including the United States Geological Survey (USGS), a large portion of our country has a probability of earth shaking that could cause damage.
It’s not only California that is at risk, as most people mistakenly believe. Earthquakes may occur in the Pacific Northwest, the Rocky Mountain states, the Midwest, and the Northeast.
Homeowners Insurance & Earthquakes
Depending on where you live, your property could be in danger of damage or collapse after a seismic event. Even a moderate earthquake can cause serious consequences, from fallen belongings and cracked foundations, to fires due to broken gas and electrical infrastructure.
Your Home Insurance May Not Cover Earthquake Damage
You should be aware that your homeowner or renter’s policy may not include coverage for earthquakes. Earthquake insurance is generally added as a separate policy or endorsement.
Without earthquake coverage, if your property is damaged due to a seismic event or a fire following an earthquake, you would have to pay for repairs or rebuilding out of your own pocket, which can be unaffordable for many homeowners.
How Earthquake Insurance Works
If you rent your residence, you only need earthquake coverage for your personal property in the building, not for the entire structure. The same is true for condo dwellers, as you don’t need to cover the building where you live — just what you own in your unit.
If you own the entire property where you live, you’ll want coverage for both the structures and their contents, including furnishings, appliances, and other personal belongings. Often, you can insure multiple structures separately, each with its own deductible. For example, if only your detached garage is damaged in an earthquake, you don't pay the larger deductible associated with your home.
You’ll want to ask about what’s covered in your personal earthquake insurance policy, specifically elements like landscaping or swimming pools, which may or may not be included. Foreshocks and aftershocks are considered part of one seismic event and may be covered under one claim.
If you’ve gone to the trouble of insuring your property with home or renter’s insurance, you don’t want to risk leaving it vulnerable to earthquakes, especially in high-risk areas. To learn more about earthquake insurance or to start a policy, contact us.