Your homeowners insurance provides a solid foundation of protection from most of the risks facing your home. But nearly all homeowners insurance policies exclude coverage for earthquake. Unlike flood insurance, there’s no requirements for homeowner's to carry earthquake insurance. If you live in one of the many areas of the United States with a high, moderate, or even low risk of an earthquake occurring, only earthquake insurance can protect your home from the resulting damage.
Damage from an earthquake can vary depending on the magnitude of the quake and how your home is constructed. Some people may escape an earthquake with very little loss, such as some broken tiles, windows or drywall cracks. Others may experience structural damage or a complete loss. Since there is no way to tell when, where, or how large an earthquake may be, earthquake insurance can provide peace-of-mind that your home has some degree of coverage for this type of catastrophic event.
What Earthquake Insurance Covers
- Earthquake coverage is similar to homeowners insurance in that it provides coverage for property damage to your home.
- Earthquake coverage generally only covers your home.
- It can also provide coverage for damage to personal property inside your home such as furniture, appliances, and fixtures.
- Additional living expenses, also known as loss of use, can be covered while your home is being repaired.
You may be able to upgrade your earthquake insurance to include coverage for detached structures and increase your loss of use limits. This is an option with some carriers, but is not guaranteed. Most earthquake policies come with a high deductible which should be closely evaluated. The deductible is usually based on a percentage of the home value.
What Earthquake Insurance Does Not Cover
There are some things commonly excluded in earthquake policies. Many of these exclusions may be covered in policies you already purchased:
- Fire: Homeowners policies typically cover any kind of fire, including those resulting from an earthquake.
- Land damage: Sinkholes or erosions caused by earthquakes are generally not covered, unless you choose to buy additional coverage for these events as an option.
- Floods: Water damage from outside of the home resulting from an earthquake is generally not covered. But flood insurance could protect you in the event a nearby body of water floods your home after an earthquake.
- Vehicles: Damage to vehicles on your property or off is typically not covered by your earthquake policy but may be covered by certain auto insurance policies.
Beach & O’Neill Insurance Associates has been serving California residents for decades and we can assist you with placing earthquake insurance. If you’re not sure if you need earthquake coverage, or want more information about the benefits of this type of protection, please contact our office and we will assist you with understanding and purchasing this type of coverage for your home or building.