For Consumers

Earthquake insurance

What is earthquake insurance and how does it work?

Earthquake insurance is an added endorsement to your existing homeowner or renter’s policy, or a separate earthquake policy you buy.

  • 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% 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 it covers

  • Repairs to your home.
  • Your personal property due to earthquake damage.
  • The cost to remove debris.
  • Extra living expenses you might have while your home is repaired or rebuilt.

What it might cover

  • Increased costs to meet current building codes and costs to stabilize the land under your home.
  • Other structures not attached to your house.

What it doesn't cover

  • Fire.
  • Land.
  • Vehicles.
  • Pre-existing damage.
  • External water damage.
  • Damage due to:
    Landslides.
    Settlements.
    Mudflows.
    Earth rising, sinking and contracting.

What it might not cover

  • Floods.
  • Tidal waves or tsunamis - even when caused by an earthquake.

To see if you're covered or not for these types of damages listed above, talk to your agent or broker and be sure to read your policy.

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.