Why Should I Worry About Earthquake Insurance?

Earthquake damage can be costly. Depending on the severity and amount of damage, your home may need to be repaired or even rebuilt. Standard homeowners’/renters’ insurance does not cover earthquake damage, so earthquake insurance has to be purchased separately. Earthquake insurance is a good investment for those that live in areas frequently affected by earthquakes.  

Why You Need Earthquake Insurance 

Earthquakes can happen anywhere in the world, and the vast majority of people aren’t prepared. If your home is close to an active fault line (where earthquakes are the most likely to occur), then it is even more important to have earthquake insurance.  

How homes are built also factors into how much damage can occur during earthquakes – the layout of the house, the materials, and even what kind of soil the house is built on are contributing factors. Softer soils will shift more during an earthquake, which can cause extensive damage to the foundation of the home. Homes that are too stiff and rigid (brick and mortar) or irregularly shaped are more likely to collapse than those with more flexibility (wood frames).  

You may also want to consider the value of your home and its contents when purchasing an earthquake insurance plan. If you possess valuable China or crystal, you may want to purchase a more extensive plan that can cover the loss of these items. 

What Earthquake Insurance Covers 

Earthquake insurance and the amount of coverage received depends on an individual’s policy. Earthquake insurance typically has three parts consisting of dwelling coverage, personal property coverage, and ALE (additional living expenses)/ loss of use coverage. 

Dwelling Coverage covers your home up to a set amount, also known as “the limit.” This is similar to homeowners’ insurance. This coverage helps pay to repair or rebuild your home in the event an earthquake damages it.  

Personal Property Coverage covers objects in your home like TVs, computers, and furniture that can be damaged during an earthquake and may need to be replaced.  

Additional Living Expenses (ALE), or Loss of Use Coverage covers the cost of living somewhere temporarily while your home is being repaired/rebuilt. It can cover the cost of a rental home, hotels, apartment, moving/storage, restaurant meals, and laundry depending on your personal earthquake insurance plan. This part of the coverage is bound to a set of time that it takes to repair/rebuild your damaged home or the amount of time it takes for you to move to a new, permanent one.  

Consider these coverages when purchasing your earthquake insurance. Each person/family has different needs so it’s better to personalize your insurance plans. 

What Earthquake Insurance Doesn’t Cover 

Earthquakes can cause all different kinds of damage to occur, including fires and flooding. Earthquake insurance doesn’t cover damage caused by fire or flooding from outside your home. Fire damage is covered under homeowners’ insurance. If an earthquake caused a pipe to burst into your home resulting in water damage, homeowners’ insurance would cover this damage. If water from outside of your home were to flood your home as a result of an earthquake, a flood insurance plan would be the coverage you need.  

Earthquake insurance also doesn’t cover any damage that may happen to land after an earthquake occurs, such as sinkholes. It doesn’t cover any damage that may occur to your vehicles – you will need to look at your automobile policy to see if it covers earthquake-related damage. 

Earthquake insurance can cost a pretty penny, and many homeowners choose to forego it. Earthquake damage can be very pricy, so it is better to be prepared and insured than not, as you never know when a devastating earthquake may happen. Reach out to your local independent insurance agent to learn more about earthquake insurance and what plan your home would need.