Facts About Earthquakes and Earthquake Insurance
- Rates for Earthquake insurance can vary significantly.
- Generally, in earthquake-prone areas, the cost of this insurance is relatively high. In other areas, it is relatively inexpensive.
- In California, Earthquake insurance is issued by an independent organization, the California Earthquake Authority (CEA). CEA policies are available through your agent.
- There is no way to predict exactly when or where an earthquake will occur. Seismologists can say that numerous minor to moderate earthquakes will be felt in the United States in the next year or two and that a major one will occur within the next 25 years.
It is estimated that a major earthquake in a populated area of the United States could cause as much as $200 billion in losses.
Do You Need Earthquake Insurance?
Here are some questions to ask yourself when considering coverage:
- Is my home covered if an earthquake does occur?
- Can I afford the cost of rebuilding or repairing my home if damaged as the result of an earthquake?
- What would it cost to replace my personal belongings damaged as a result of an earthquake?
- How would I pay for temporary housing if an earthquake causes structural damage to my home or makes it uninhabitable?
Prepare – Building Your Earthquake Action Plan
- The only way to be ready for the unexpected is to prepare ahead of time. That’s why it’s important to have an Earthquake Action Plan in place for you, your family, and your business. It’s especially important if you live in earthquake zones like California, Oregon, and Washington.
- Talk to your friends and family, and decide on a place to meet if you’re separated after an earthquake.
- Make an emergency communication plan in case cell towers or phone lines are down. You can also ask a relative or friend outside your area to be your contact.
- Locate a safe place in every room of your home, and discuss with your family the safest places to be during an earthquake. Remember, if you’re:
- Inside, get under something heavy like a sturdy table or against an inside wall and cover your head.
- Outside, stay away from buildings and get out into the open.
- In your car, stop and stay in your seat. If you’re stopped near a building or under an overpass, try to safely move away from them.
- Store first aid kits anywhere you spend a lot of time (home, car, work, etc.).
- Pack plenty of batteries, flashlights, and bottles of water to prepare for power outages and water shortages.
- Review your home’s important systems (electrical, gas, water, etc.) and know how to operate them or shut them off in an emergency.
- Know your earthquake insurance options and eligibility.
- Although they’re somewhat rare occurrences, earthquakes are still incredibly scary, overwhelming, and unpredictable forces of nature. But with some knowledge and preparation, we can mitigate risks and keep ourselves and our families safe from disaster.