Two Important Things About Earthquake Insurance
- Most home insurance policies do not cover earthquake damage.
- Even if you live in an area where earthquakes are not common, you may still need earthquake insurance.
Earthquakes have occurred in 39 states since 1900, and about 90% of Americans live in areas considered seismically active. For many of our customers in California, earthquake insurance can be inexpensive. contact us to find out what the costs would be for your home.
Earthquake Insurance Options
Most business, home, condo, dwelling fire/landlord and renters insurance policies do not cover damage caused by an earthquake, but coverage can be purchased as an endorsement or a separate policy. You may be able to choose to purchase earthquake insurance from the same company that provides your home insurance, from a specialized earthquake insurance provider, or from an independent organization such as the California Earthquake Authority (CEA).
Do I Need Earthquake Insurance in San Ramon?
In all likelihood, almost the entire US would be better protected by purchasing earthquake insurance. Consider the facts:
- In the West - According to the U.S. Geological Survey, there is a 70% probability that one or more damaging earthquakes of magnitude 6.7 or larger will strike the San Francisco Bay area during the next 30 years.
- In the East - The Earthquake Education Center at Charleston Southern University claims there is a 40% to 60% chance of a major earthquake somewhere in the eastern United States in the next 20 years.
- In the Midwest - According to the Insurance Information Institute, there's a 40% to 63% chance the New Madrid Fault (which runs through Arkansas, Kentucky, Missouri and Tennessee) region will suffer an earthquake with a 6.0 magnitude in the next 15 years.
What Does Earthquake Insurance Cover?
Earthquake insurance provides coverage if your home is damaged by an earthquake. Standard business, homeowner, condo, dwelling fire/landlord, and renters policies will not cover earthquake damage. Earthquake insurance is a separate policy you must buy or an endorsement you must request to add to your homeowner or renters policy. We offer stand-alone earthquake policies from several carriers that allow us to tailor a product to fit your exposure and needs.
An earthquake endorsement generally excludes damages or losses from floods and tidal waves – even when caused or compounded by an earthquake. However, if you experience a loss due to a landslide, settlement, mudflow, or the rising, sinking and contracting of earth, your endorsement may cover it if the damage resulted from an earthquake.
There are several subjects to consider and discuss when purchasing earthquake insurance, including:
- Does the policy cover only your home? Are other structures, such as garages and pools, also included?
- Will your policy pay for the contents of your home and breakage of fragile personal property items?
- Are there any exclusions or limitations to coverage? Pools and chimneys are often subject to specific policy limits or exclusions.
- What deductible must you pay before the insurance kicks in? What can you afford as your share of the repair costs? You should never take on a deductible larger than you can absorb financially.
- How many residents are in your household? A large family is going to need more Loss of Use/Additional Living Expense coverage to cover expenses while you are displaced from your home.
- Will your policy cover Ordinance or Law/Building Code Upgrade expenses to bring your house up to code while being rebuilt? Is there a set limit to this coverage?
- Has your home undergone a structural retrofit? Cripple Walls, foundation bolts, and water heater straps can qualify you for a discount up to 15% when verified by a licensed contractor. This is done with a carrier specific form that is signed by your contractor and submitted to your carrier for approval.
- Do you live in a Condo Association? Loss Assessment for Earthquake is optional on many policies and may help with assessed expenses resulting from an earthquake.
Earthquakes Can Happen in San Ramon – Protect Yourself and Those You Care About
- Make sure your water heater, gas appliances, and other fixtures are fastened securely.
- Check that bookcases and furniture are secure and fastened to walls.
- Have an earthquake emergency plan that all family and staff members know. Designate a meeting place outside the home or business where everyone can gather once the danger has passed.
- Designate a distant relative or friend who can serve as a point of contact and communication for you and your family members if you get separated.
- Plan ahead. Keep flashlights, batteries, and candles on hand. Have a portable radio.
- Be sure everyone in your house knows how to turn off utilities (electricity, water, and gas).
- When shopping for earthquake insurance, ask the company to help you identify possible repairs and other improvements that will make your home safer and minimize damage.
What to do when an earthquake strikes
If you are inside when an earthquake hits, stay inside and get under a heavy table or desk. Stay away from windows. Do not evacuate the building unless emergency personnel direct you to leave.
If you are outside, get away from buildings and power lines, and remember that stone and masonry facings can break loose and fall away from upper parts of buildings.
If you are in a car, stop safely away from structures, large trees, power lines, and other hazards. Stay inside the vehicle.
Keep in mind:
- Don’t use candles until gas lines are checked. Also, check throughout your home before you use certain utilities, such as water and electric, sewage connections, and even chimneys.
- Don’t tie up phone lines except to report emergencies. If you are not in any danger it is best to text message any updates to friends and relatives.
- Be prepared. Remember that you will need food and water, even for the short term. Keep your family together and stay alert for aftershocks.
Earthquake insurance needs can vary significantly – talk to us today to find out how to get the best price and value on earthquake insurance for you.
California Earthquake Authority – Quoting and resources - https://www.earthquakeauthority.com
Ready.gov- Planning - https://www.ready.gov/earthquakes
Shakeout.org – Planning - https://www.shakeout.org/california/resources
USGS – Maps and quake reporting - https://earthquake.usgs.gov
San Francisco specific – Planning - https://sfgov.org/esip/resources
Berkeley Seismology Lab – Quake Map - http://seismo.berkeley.edu/seismo.real.time.map.html