Advance Insurance Salt Lake City Utah Logo
Call or Text
Close this search box.
Information for our members regarding our COVID-19 response and STAY SAFE, STAY HOME DIVIDEND

How to File an Earthquake Insurance Claim: 5 Tips

A person holding an umbrella over a paper house in the rain

If you have earthquake insurance and need to file a claim, we’re outlining all the details you need to know to ensure your process is as smooth as possible.

Nobody wants to endure a natural disaster, such as an earthquake. There’s no denying how traumatic it can be, and, for many, so can filing an insurance claim. Because they’re paying a premium, many policyholders believe their insurance provider will seamlessly fix earthquake-related damage, but that’s not always the case.

In a perfect world, the claims process would never have any issues come up, and the entire thing would be smooth sailing. But that is not reality for many policyholders due to various reasons. 

It’s very common for policyholders to make mistakes during the filing process that could cost them thousands of dollars. Without carefully reading your policy’s fine print, you could be underinsured, not covered at all, or something else.

So, if you need to file an earthquake insurance claim, keep reading below to ensure your claims process is as smooth as possible.

5 tips for filing a successful earthquake insurance claim

It is essential to act quickly after a natural disaster like an earthquake. But just because you are working quickly doesn’t mean “skip steps” or “lose out on quality control.” If you want to enjoy a smooth claims process, make sure to implement the following five tips:

1. Take photos of incurred damage

Documenting any damage from the earthquake should be one of your first steps. The moment authorities deem it safe, take photos and video footage of all visible damage, as well as any areas that do not appear to be damaged.
Why should you take photos and videos of all areas in your, even the “undamaged” spaces? Because this shows your insurance company proof of a well-maintained property. Moreover, it prevents unethical contractors from defrauding the property owner by “finding additional damages” in unaffected areas.
Once you have footage of the damaged areas, send them to a friend or family member or save them to a hard drive or cloud for safekeeping. This may seem like an unnecessary safety precaution, but remember, you are walking in the path of a natural disaster, you could drop your phone and lose your evidence. 
Make sure your photos and videos are extremely thorough and capture all the details you’ll need. Go the extra mile and take pictures using tape measures to show the scope of the damage. Take whatever steps you need to to make your insurer fulfill their end of the contract details.

2. Make emergency repairs

As soon as your property is safe and you document all damage, secure your home and mitigate additional damage. This may involve actions like tapping your roof or boarding up windows. Most insurance policies state that consumers must stop further damage from occurring in order to ensure coverage from their policy for their losses after an earthquake.

Many policies have language that requires you to take reasonable measures that will help prevent further damage after it has come to your attention. If you do end up spending money to prevent further damage, make sure you save your receipt for your insurance company.

3. Contact your insurance company

Whether you have the best earthquake insurance policy or not, get a claim started right away so you are in your insurer’s system, have a claim number, and have something to refer to on all future calls and other communications. Without a claim number, it’s like the issue never happened.
Keep a written log of all correspondence with your insurance professionals and anyone else that you talk to about the damage. While this might seem unnecessary, this effort will keep things from getting lost or delayed.

4. Understand your policy coverage 

Make sure you thoroughly review your earthquake insurance policy and assess what your claim involves. It’s not uncommon for homeowners to have multiple policies, such as flood insurance, an earthquake policy, and homeowners insurance. If you have different types of policies, make sure you’re making a claim on the right policy.

5. Vet the contractors you hire to repair your home

 This is undoubtedly a stressful part of the aftermath of a natural disaster. As if an earthquake weren’t bad enough, you also have to endure the cleanup and repair process. 
If you want a smooth process (and who wouldn’t?), it’s important to find a trusted and experienced contractor to do the cleanup and repairs on your home post-earthquake. Ask your friends, family, and insurance provider for recommendations. Make sure to look at a third-party review site, too.

A house with debris in the yard and on the street

3 mistakes to avoid when filing earthquake insurance claims

Earthquakes often result in significant damage to homes and businesses, leaving a policyholder in a distressing situation. In these situations, filing an earthquake insurance claim is crucial to recover losses and rebuild and repair your property. However, the claim process can be complex and daunting, resulting in the policyholder making a mistake that could lead to delayed or reduced compensation. 

Below, you’ll find three common mistakes policyholders make when filing an insurance claim after an earthquake and provide some insights on how you can avoid them:

1. Failing to report property damage quickly

It’s not uncommon to feel stressed out by or overwhelmed at the prospect of filing an insurance claim. This is especially true for those having just lived through a natural disaster, such as an earthquake. 
Unfortunately, there isn’t always time to rest and recover from the mental, physical, and emotional toll of a natural disaster, as timely reporting of earthquake damage is critical for a quick and easy claim process. Some policyholders opt to delay reporting the damage to their property to mentally recoup, assess the situation first, or handle the repair process themselves.
However, most insurance policies have specific deadlines for reporting claims. Failing to report your claim promptly could result in the denial of your claim or complications throughout the process. In other words, if you miss your window, you’re out of luck and will need to pay for repairs without the assistance of your insurance. It is crucial to notify your insurer as soon as possible after the earthquake.

2. Inadequate documentation of incurred damage

One of the most common mistakes made by policyholders filing an earthquake insurance claim is insufficiently documenting the damage. To ensure a successful, seamless claim process, policyholders should document the damage extremely thoroughly.

Proper documentation includes taking detailed videos and photographs of all affected areas, creating an inventory of any destroyed or damaged items, and holding onto receipts and estimates for replacement and repair costs.
Comprehensive and thorough documentation strengthens a claim and will help establish the extent of damage suffered, illustrating that your insurance company needs to step in and help.

3. Overlooking policy coverage, limitations, and exclusions

One of the smartest moves a policyholder can make is to carefully read and understand the ins and outs of their policy. It’s not uncommon for a policyholder to make the mistake of assuming they are fully covered for all earthquake-related losses without thoroughly reviewing their policy.
Earthquake insurance coverage varies from company to company and policy to policy. One policy may have specific exclusions or limitations, while the next one does not. Understanding the coverage details, such as limits, deductibles, exclusions, and more is critical to avoid unwanted surprises during the claim process.
Policyholders must review their earthquake policies and seek answers and clarifications from their insurance provider if any uncertainties come up.

Small house perched in a crack on the ground

Find earthquake insurance with Bear River Mutual Insurance

If you are looking for earthquake insurance or need help filing an earthquake insurance claim, the professionals at Bear River Mutual are here to help!

Life is full of unexpected situations and events, and while we cannot 100% predict these unfortunate kinds of occurrences, especially a natural disaster like an earthquake, there are some things you can do to lessen the blow, such as investing in insurance.

The right insurance policy will protect you and those closest to you when these kinds of unforeseen events arise. The Bear River Mutual team is here to take care of you, ensuring you find the best earthquake insurance policy for you and giving you the peace of mind you deserve.

Our team is here to help you find the best earthquake insurance, reasonable rates, and is committed to finding the perfect balance of value and protection for you and the people and things most important to you. Our ultimate goal is to help you and your loved ones get the best rates and coverage possible. We are here to help you find the best option that protects you, your family, assets, your business, and more when the unexpected happens.

As a local Northern Utah company, we thoroughly understand the unique needs of individuals, families, homeowners, businesses, and renters across the Wasatch Front. You can find us in Salt Lake City, Provo, and Orem to best serve you. 
Contact Bear River Mutual Insurance today to get your quote on an affordable insurance policy from the best carrier around.

Like this article?

Share on Facebook
Share on Twitter
Share on Linkdin
Share on Pinterest