How earthquake insurance works
- It provides coverage if your home is destroyed by an earthquake.
- It's a separate endorsement you must buy and add to your homeowner or renter policy.
- You can also buy a stand-alone policy separate from your homeowner policy.
- It's usually sold with deductibles equaling 10 to 25 percent of the structure’s policy limit.
- It only pays for damages that exceed the deductible.
- There may be a separate deductible for contents, structure and unattached structures like garages, sheds, driveways, or retaining walls.
- Generally, this coverage isn't available to buy for a period of time after an earthquake.
What to expect from insurers
Some earthquake insurers may require an inspection of your property before they'll issue you a policy. They may even have different coverage requirements, such as:
- The location of your home
- Your home must be bolted to its foundation
- The location and bracing of your home's interior walls
- You must have strapping guards to secure fixtures, such as hot-water heaters
What damage it may cover
- Rising, sinking and contracting of earth
What damage it may not cover
- Tidal waves or tsunamis - even when caused by an earthquake
To see if you're covered or not for these types of damages, talk to your agent or broker and be sure to read your policy.