Earthquake insurance is a type of natural disaster insurance that anyone can use, but some more than most. It’s possible to experience an earthquake anywhere in the country, but as many of you know, certain places (like California), are more earthquake prone than others. Around here, earthquakes happen all the time, but most aren’t very big. Unfortunately, earthquakes can be devastating, and being protected by earthquake insurance can be a life saver when one strikes.
Where to Buy Earthquake Insurance
The State of California requires home insurance companies to provide earthquake insurance, but it doesn’t require that residents purchase it. As such, checking with your homeowners insurance carrier is one place to start. However, it’s possible to buy a stand-alone earthquake insurance policy from another insurer altogether, so shopping around is beneficial if you want to save money.
What Earthquake Insurance Covers
Earthquake insurance will typically pay for repairs to your house and attached structures, such as your garage, as well as personal belongings and additional living expenses if your home is uninhabitable due to the earthquake. Coverage in these areas is pretty standard, though there are some options that can be added to an earthquake insurance policy including building code upgrades, such as emergency repairs.
Earthquake insurance policies are usually associated with large deductibles of 5% to 20% of your dwelling coverage limit. Additionally, some companies use separate deductibles for different types of coverage. For example, you may have one deductible for your personal property coverage and another for your dwelling. Not all earthquake insurance policies have more than one deductible, so make sure to ask your insurance agent about it.
How Your Rates are Determined
In the insurance industry, rates are determined based on risk. To determine the level of risk associated with providing your home with earthquake insurance, companies will take the following into account:
- Your Zip code
- The age of your home
- Number of stories in your house
- Your home’s rebuilding cost
- Type of soil on your property
- The building materials used in your home
- The areas proximity to fault lines and seismic activity
Photo by Trevor Johnston.