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Everything You Should Know About Homeowners’ Insurance and Earthquakes

Everything You Should Know About Homeowners' Insurance and Earthquakes

If you are a homeowner and live in a seismic zone, you may have asked yourself, “Are earthquakes covered by insurance?” Today, we’re answering all of your questions about homeowners insurance and earthquakes.

Emergencies and natural disasters can strike whenever, with zero warning or preparation time, potentially leaving your property in a mess. Protecting yourself against these unexpected events, such as earthquakes, is crucial and can ensure your financial situation is not totally devastated after such an intense loss. 

The best way for homeowners to protect themselves and their property is by purchasing home insurance. An earthquake can cause immense, even catastrophic, damage to your home and property. Like all types of insurance, earthquake coverage is an investment and can save you and your loved ones from financial distress.

Today, we are filling you in on everything you need to know about homeowners insurance and earthquakes. Continue reading to learn more.

Does My Home Insurance Policy Cover Earthquakes?

“Are earthquakes covered by insurance?” or another iteration of that question, is one of the most frequently asked questions surrounding this topic. In almost all cases, home insurance does not include coverage for earthquakes. 

However, if you live in a high-risk area for tremors and other seismic activity, your home insurance provider may be able to offer you a separate earthquake policy or an earthquake addendum you can tack onto your current policy for an additional cost. With this addendum, you’ll never have to wonder, “Are earthquakes covered by insurance?” again.

What is Earthquake Insurance?

Because nearly 100% of home insurance policies do not cover earthquakes, having earthquake insurance is critical for some. Earthquake insurance provides policyholders with coverage for their home in the unfortunate event that an earthquake damages it. This kind of insurance is purchased separately from a standard home insurance policy.

If an earthquake damages your property and you do not have earthquake insurance, you will most likely pay for any repairs out of pocket.  

What Does Earthquake Insurance Cover?

Individual earthquake policies will vary from one to the next regarding what is covered and not covered. However, generally speaking, earthquake policies typically consist of three parts:

  • Dwelling Coverage — This helps pay to rebuild or repair your house.
  • Personal Property and Belongings Coverage — This helps pay to replace damaged personal belongings, like TVs, furniture, and more.
  • Loss-of-Use Coverage — This pays for temporary additional living expenses if you need to live elsewhere while your house is repaired or rebuilt.

Additionally, your policy might include (or be offered to purchase) building code upgrade coverage. This means if you have to rebuild your house and it costs more because the original structure isn’t up-to-date with current building codes and requirements, your insurance will help cover those additional expenses.

Is Earthquake Insurance Necessary?

If you are deciding whether or not to purchase earthquake insurance, the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) says to consider the following factors:

  • The home’s proximity to active faults
  • Earthquake frequency in your area
  • The type of land of your property, including the slope of the land and the type of soil
  • When the last earthquake was, and how much time has passed
  • The layout, construction type, materials used, and quality of your home
  • The amount of annual rain or snowfall
  • Whether or not your house was built with earthquake preparedness in mind
  • The total value of your house and its contents
  • How much it costs to insure your home

Utah Earthquake Statistics from the Utah Geological Survey

  • Large earthquakes (between 6.5 and 7.5) usually happen every 50 to 150 years in Utah. The last “large one” — a 6.5 — was in 1901 in Richfield. Since the last one was 120 years ago, we are due for a big one.
  • Magnitude 5.5 to 6.5 earthquakes happen about every 10 to 50 years in Utah, the most recent occurring in 2020.
  • Less intense earthquakes, with a magnitude of 5.0 to 5.4, usually happen every four years.
  • Minor earthquakes (5.0 in magnitude or less) occur approximately seven times annually.

Do You Need Earthquake Insurance?

All this information might feel overwhelming, and a lot to consider; we don’t mean to cause stress! Whether you need earthquake coverage boils down to three simple questions:

  • What are the chances that an earthquake will happen in my area?
  • How likely is it that the earthquake would damage your property?
  • If it did cause significant damage, could you afford to repair or rebuild your home without insurance helping financially?

This last question is an important one to answer honestly. While the vast majority of the approximately 55 earthquakes per day globally cause little to no damage, it only takes one large earthquake to inflict catastrophic destruction on your house.

What to Do After an Earthquake?

Knowing now what to do after an earthquake is crucial. Between the shock and emotions you’ll feel and the potential damage and injuries you’ll face, it’s wise to figure out what to do after an earthquake hits before it happens. Here’s what you need to know:

  • Provide first-aid or call 9-1-1 if necessary to assist injured individuals
  • If you suspect utility issues, carefully turn off your power, water, and gas. Report it to authorities right away.
  • Send messages to loved ones letting them know you’re okay.
  • Assess and document the damage to your home and surrounding property by taking pictures and videos.
  • Call your insurance provider right away so they can assign a claims adjuster to your case.

Need Earthquake Insurance? Contact Bear River Mutual Today!

If you believe you need earthquake or homeowners insurance or have questions about it, Bear River Mutual Insurance experts can help. You shouldn’t be left without earthquake insurance, and we can get you covered.

We know that disasters, accidents, and emergencies can strike at any moment, which is why we are dedicated to helping individuals and families get the protection they deserve. We offer affordable insurance that meets your specific needs. 

If you live in Provo, Salt Lake City, Orem, or a surrounding area, we are ready to build a policy that works for your home, family, and budget. Contact us to get a fast and free quote today.

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