Earthquake insurance is probably not included in your current policy

Jul 5, 2019, 12:23 PM
6.4 magnitude earthquake insurance...
Cracks in the road are seen near Ridgecrest, California. Photo: Karaleigh Roe

(CNN) — The largest earthquake to hit Southern California in two decades rattled the region on July 4th — followed by more than 170 aftershocks. But only 13% of homeowners have earthquake insurance in the Golden State, according to the California Department of Insurance. Others who have renter’s or homeowner’s insurance mistakenly believe they’re covered for earthquakes.

Here’s what you need to know:

Will my homeowner’s or renter’s insurance help?

When it comes to earthquakes, the short answer is no.

Having homeowner’s or renter’s insurance does not automatically mean you’re covered for earthquakes — you need a separate policy for that. In California, the company providing your homeowner’s insurance must offer to sell you separate quake insurance.

The offer must be in writing, and it gives you 30 days to accept it or not — starting from the day the company mails the offer. if you don’t respond, it means you are rejecting the offer, the California Department of Insurance says.

But in some cases, it says, homeowner’s or renter’s insurance may cover direct loss caused by explosion, theft or breaking glass following an earthquake — even without a policy that specifically covers earthquakes.

“Read your homeowner’s policy and contact your insurance company whenever an earthquake damages your property. Do not assume that the damage is not covered,” the department of insurance says.

Earthquake insurance will replace all my stuff, right?

Probably not.

While the goal is to provide some relief, it’s not meant to bring you back to your pre-earthquake days, officials say.

“There are limits on what earthquake insurance pays,” the California Department of Insurance says. “The purpose of earthquake insurance is to help put a roof back over your head.”

And earthquake insurance usually does not cover anything already included in your homeowner’s policy.

“For example, your homeowner’s policy covers fire damage, even if an earthquake causes the fire. Therefore, your earthquake policy does not cover fire damage,” the California Department of Insurance says.

Earthquake policies do not cover damage to your vehicles either — that may be covered by your auto policy. Neither does it cover water damage from outside your home after an earthquake, including sewer, drain back-up and flooding, among others.

What if a fire is caused by an earthquake?

In this case, there’s more flexibility.

Under state law, fire damage is covered by both homeowner’s and renter’s insurance whether you have an earthquake policy or not.

“California law says that both homeowner’s and renter’s insurance must cover fire damage that is caused by or follows an earthquake,” the California Department of Insurance says.

Where can I buy earthquake insurance?

Before you get an earthquake policy, you must have a residential property insurance policy.

The California Earthquake Authority offers most earthquake policies for homeowners and renters. But you don’t buy quake insurance directly from that state agency — you have to get it from insurance companies that are members of CEA.

Any tips to make an earthquake policy less costly?

The state recommends residents find ways to protect homes and reduce damage caused by earthquakes. That includes retrofitting houses — which makes them stronger and can help save money on insurance and repairs. Insurance costs are higher for older homes, houses that have more than one story, those built on sandy soil instead of clay or rock and those that are not up to code, the California Department of Insurance says.

™ & © 2019 Cable News Network, Inc., a Time Warner Company. All rights reserved.

We want to hear from you.

Have a story idea or tip? Send it to the KSL NewsRadio team here.

Today’s Top Stories

All News

Carrier at USPS mail truck, USPS is holding a job fair...
Mark Jones

Authorities looking for suspect who allegedly robbed post office employee

Authorities are searching for an individual who allegedly robbed an post office employee on Tuesday.
1 day ago
Changes could be coming to all elementary schools in the Salt Lake City School District....
Mark Jones

Possible changes to schools could be coming in Salt Lake City School District

Changes could be coming to all elementary schools in the Salt Lake City School District.
1 day ago
A 31-year-old man was taken into custody Wednesday in connection to a bank robbery earlier in the d...
Mark Jones

Bank robbery suspect taken into custody by Salt Lake City police

A 31-year-old man was taken into custody Wednesday in connection to a bank robbery earlier in the day.
1 day ago
Utah 2022 legislative session...
Lindsay Aerts

Count My Vote threatens ballot initiative to protect signature path to primary ballot if new bill passes

SALT LAKE CITY — A new war is brewing over signature gathering.  The citizens initiative group that ushered in Utah’s decade-old compromise creating a dual path for candidates to get on the primary election ballot — which includes signature gathering, the caucus convention system or both — is threatening to launch a statewide ballot initiative […]
1 day ago
Brigham City Police need help in locating a missing  14-year-old endangered boy....
Waverly Golden

Brigham City Police locate missing teenager

Brigham City Police need help in locating a missing  14-year-old endangered boy. 
1 day ago
Elizabeth Weiler

Utahns found wallet in a wall from 1970, looking to reunite with owner

After a local restoration company was called to remediate an emergency, they began tearing down walls, leading to a wallet found in the insulation. 
1 day ago

Sponsored Articles

Skier being towed by a rider on a horse. Skijoring....
Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

Looking for a New Winter Activity? Try Skijoring in Bear Lake

This article about skijoring is sponsored by the Bear Lake Convention & Visitors Bureau. Participate in Skijoring the Bear on February 20th, 2023.  What is skijoring? Skijoring is when someone on skis is pulled by a horse, dog, animal, or motor vehicle. The driver leads the skiers through an obstacle course over jumps, hoops, and […]
Banner with Cervical Cancer Awareness Realistic Ribbon...
Intermountain Health

Five Common Causes of Cervical Cancer – and What You Can Do to Lower Your Risk

January is National Cervical Cancer Awareness month and cancer experts at Intermountain Health are working to educate women about cervical cancer, the tests that can warn women about potential cancer, and the importance of vaccination.
Kid holding a cisco fish at winterfest...
Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

Get Ready for Fun at the 2023 Bear Lake Monster Winterfest

The Bear Lake Monster Winterfest is an annual weekend event jam-packed full of fun activities the whole family can enjoy. This year the event will be held from January 27-29 at the Utah Bear Lake State Park Marina and Sunrise Resort and Event Center in Garden City, Utah. 
happy friends with sparklers at christmas dinner...

15 Easy Christmas Dinner Ideas

We’ve scoured the web for you and narrowed down a few of our favorite Christmas dinner ideas to make your planning easy. Choose from the dishes we’ve highlighted to plan your meal or start brainstorming your own meal plan a couple of weeks before to make sure you have time to shop and prepare.
Spicy Homemade Loaded Taters Tots...

5 Game Day Snacks for the Whole Family (with recipes!)

Try these game day snacks to make watching football at home with your family feel like a special occasion. 
Happy joyful smiling casual satisfied woman learning and communicates in sign language online using...

The Best Tools for Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing Workplace Success

Here are some of the best resources to make your workplace work better for Deaf and hard-of-hearing employees.
Earthquake insurance is probably not included in your current policy