Follow these Earthquake Insurance Los Angeles guide in order to be prepared and remain safe before, during and after an earthquake.
Before an Earthquake
Pack a small emergency kit to be kept at work. Include items such as food, water, toiletries, a flashlight, and batteries to last for up to 72 hours. Make sure it is portable in case you have to move to another location.
Review the Emergency Action Plan as outlined in your employee safety manual, or ask Human Resources about the protocol for earthquakes.
· Develop a plan for reuniting with your family after the disaster.
During an Earthquake
If you are outside, move to a clear area free of power lines, signage or trees that may fall on you.
If you are driving, pull over until the shaking subsides. Avoid overpasses and power lines.
If you are inside, stay there.
Seek immediate shelter under a heavy desk or table, or brace yourself inside a door frame or against an inside wall, especially if in a high-rise building.
Stay at least 15 feet away from windows.
If shaking causes the desk or table to move, be sure to move with it.
If you use a wheelchair, lock the wheels if possible and cover your head with your arms.
Resist the urge to panic. Organize your thoughts. Think as clearly as possible, and anticipate the sights and sounds that may accompany an earthquake.
If you are safely able to do so, assist any co-workers that need extra help.
Don’t be surprised if the electricity goes out, if fire or elevator alarms begin ringing, or if the sprinkler system is activated. Expect to hear noise from broken glass, creaking walls, and falling objects.
Immediately After an Earthquake
Remain in the same “safe” location for several minutes after the earthquake, in case there are any aftershocks.
Do not attempt to evacuate or leave your area until you have been instructed to do so. Unless absolutely necessary.
Check for injuries and administer necessary first aid. Recognize and assist co-workers who are suffering from shock or emotional distress.
Implement your survival plan. Establish a temporary shelter. In case, rescue teams are expected to be delayed.
Use a stairway when instructed to exit the building.
Earthquake insurance needs can vary significantly – Let Earthquake Insurance Los Angeles help you shop with the best earthquake insurance companies in Los Angeles to find you the right policy. Contact us at (811) 234-5600.
Earthquake insurance covers damages caused by an earthquake, a sudden and violent shaking of the ground resulting from movement of the earth’s crust. More specifically, earthquake insurance covers damages to your house, personal belongings inside your home, and Additional Living Expenses (ALE) or loss of use, which are the costs to live somewhere else while a policyholder’s area is evacuated or their home is repaired. Insurance coverage for earthquakes is generally not included in standard homeowners or renters insurance policies. It can be added to an existing homeowners insurance policy as an endorsement or purchased as a separate policy.
Roughly 200,000 earthquakes occur each year, the vast majority happening in 42 states considered at risk of earthquakes, according to the U.S. Geological Survey. Most earthquakes are small and unnoticeable, and cause little or no damage, but others can be catastrophic. Some states and areas within them are at a higher risk than others, so earthquake insurance rates and need can vary greatly.
What Earthquake Insurance Covers
Earthquake Insurance pays for reasonable costs that you sustain from the loss of your residence in the event of quake damage. There are three major components: your home (referred to as a dwelling in policies), personal property, and additional living expenses (ALE).
For example, if your home is subject to an earthquake and sustains cracks in the walls, ceiling, foundation or other damages, those would be covered under the dwelling portion of the coverage. There is a deductible and limit to this portion of the coverage. Another portion of earthquake insurance covers your personal belongings inside the impacted home. Personal property claims usually include protection for furniture, electronics, and other belongings. Almost anything can fall within this category, although there is a deductible and limit to this portion of the coverage that is separate from the deductible and limit for the dwelling itself. You might able to have your insurance company reimburse you or pay for a temporary rental home, apartment, hotel room, restaurant meals, or a temporary telephone line. Moving, storage, furniture rental, and laundry can also be covered.
Earthquake Insurance does not cover a number of things consumers might assume it does. For example, damages resulting from a fire caused by an earthquake would fall under a policyholder’s homeowners insurance, not their earthquake insurance. It also does not cover damage to vehicles, fences, pools and things like china and crystal. Damage to your land, such as landscaping or a sinkhole, are also are usually not covered but some policies include “engineering cost” options which these would fall under.
Another important exclusion to earthquake insurance is external water damage. Flooding and tsunamis are common results of earthquakes but their damage does not fall under earthquake insurance. Both of those events would fall under flood insurance, as well as damage caused by a sewer or drain back up that was a result of an earthquake.
How Earthquake Insurance and Claims Work
First of all, you can Contact us to learn more about claims and insurances.
Deductibles and premiums to insure your house against an earthquake can vary greatly. Typically, earthquake insurance covers your dwelling up to the same limit as your homeowners insurance, and policyholders pay a deductible between 10%-20% percent of that limit.
Ex: Here’s an example of how the coverage limits, deductibles, and insurer payouts work together for a person whose home was completely destroyed by an earthquake. It’s just for the dwelling portion of their policy, but the same math and logic extends to the other coverage types.
Earthquake insurance policy: Coverage limit: $100,000, deductible of 15%
Claim submitted: $150,000
Homeowners responsibility = 15% of $150,000 claim = $22,500
To file an earthquake insurance claim, policyholders should call their insurance provider and notify them of the event and any visible damages. Even if there is no visible harm, it can be difficult to evaluate the damage earthquakes cause. If you are in an impacted area, it might be worth having your home inspected, especially if it is an old home.
Determining If Earthquake Insurance Is Worth It
1. Check to see if your homeowner’s insurance covers earthquake damage. Most homeowners insurance policies do not extend to earthquakes, but if it does, there is no need to purchase additional insurance.
2. Do you live in a high-risk area for earthquakes?
There are 42 states at risk for earthquakes, out of which 16 have registered magnitude 6 or greater quakes on the Richter scale and are considered high-risk. Hazards are especially high on the west coast, intermountain west, and some regions in central midwest and east coast – including a hot spot where Arkansas, Tennessee, Mississippi, Kentucky, and Illinois meet. If you live near the San Andreas Fault Line, the New Madrid Seismic Zone, or along the Ramapo Fault Line – to name a few examples – you should consider it. California has earthquakes of significant magnitude more frequently than other states – eight of the 10 most costly U.S. earthquakes in history have occurred in California. It is still worthwhile to ensure against one if you’re outside of the high-risk areas.
States with Highest Risk for Earthquakes
If you live in a high-risk area where earthquakes are more frequent and more powerful, you should get earthquake insurance. Remember, there is no way to predict how powerful earthquakes will be, or when they will strike. This brings us to our last question.
3. Can you rebuild your life easily after an earthquake? Help determine if you should get earthquake insurance by asking these three questions:
Imagine your house was damaged or destroyed by an earthquake. Can you afford the cost of repairing or rebuilding your house entirely?
Can you afford to replace the personal belongings in your home after an earthquake?
If your home is deemed uninhabitable, can you pay for temporary housing? either due to an area hazard or structural damage?
If you answered “no” to one or more of the above, then you should consider getting earthquake insurance.
Factors Affecting the Cost of Earthquake Insurance
Rates for earthquake coverage in California average $1.75 per $1,000 of coverage. E.G. it would cost you roughly $437 per month if you had to purchase earthquake insurance for a $250,000 home. In some high-risk regions, that might even exceed the price of a homeowners insurance policy. In lower-risk regions, coverage can cost as low as 50 cents per $1,000 of coverage. So for the same $250,000 home, a policyholder in a low-risk region might pay as little as $125.
Regardless of the level of risk, there are things that affect the cost of earthquake insurance premiums outside of geography. The age of your home and the number of stories (including the basement) have an effect on the cost of premiums. Newer homes tend to have better materials and can be designed with earthquakes in mind, so they typically cost less to insure than old home. The taller a home, the more at-risk it is to topple and so it is more expensive to insure.
Homes with wood frames cost less to insure because it is more elastic than other materials. Raised rather than slab foundations also give a home elasticity as its base, which is crucial during an earthquake. Even homes built on sandy soil instead of clay or rock will have lower premiums for the same reason.
Policyholders also can save money by earthquake retrofitting their home. Some of the most common retrofitting to older homes includes bolting the home to the foundation, bracing the chimney and water heater, installing automatic gas cut-off valves and using plywood to strengthen cripple walls. These all work to make the home more stable, and thus less likely to sustain serious damage in the case of tremors.
Some people assume earthquakes in the U.S. don’t cause mass destruction, but this is incorrect.
In 1994, the Northridge earthquake caused $15.3 billion of insured damages ($25.6 billion in 2017 dollars). This disaster was the 5th costliest disaster of all time.
But homeowners insurance and renters insurance policies may not cover damages. That’s where earthquake insurance comes into play. Here’s what you need to know to help you decide if earthquake insurance is right for you.
SO, why do I need earthquake insurance?
From September 2017 to September 2018, over 4,960 earthquakes of a magnitude of three or more hit North America. Earthquakes can cause destruction to your home. They can damage the foundation of your home, collapse your walls, or even destroy family keepsakes. It all depends on the magnitude of the tremor.
Earthquakes in Northern America with a magnitude of three or higher.
If an earthquake causes a fire, a standard policy may pay for some repairs. The policy may also cover additional living expenses if your home is unlivable. But the majority of homeowners and renters insurance policies will not cover direct destruction caused by earthquakes.
What is covered by earthquake insurance?
Earthquake insurance covers most repairs needed. If you have additional structures attached to your home, such as a garage, your policy may cover the damages.
Earthquake insurance may also cover the additional costs to get your building up to code and replace structural damage to your property.
Homeowners or renters insurance does not cover earthquake damage. You need to add it on as an endorsement or written agreement. This may increase the insurance premium.
Sometimes it makes sense to get a separate policy. Speak with your insurance agent and discuss the best option for your insurance needs.
What isn’t covered by earthquake insurance?
Earthquake coverage doesn’t cover all loss or financial burden due to an earthquake.
Exclusions may vary by insurance provider, but here are a few of the most common exclusions:
Fire: Your home insurance policy usually covers damage due to fire. Earthquakes can puncture gas lines that can lead to fires.
Vehicles: Your auto insurance policy may pay for the damages to your vehicle. If your car is parked in your garage, earthquake insurance will not cover the damages. (for car insurance you can contact us)
External water damage: If an earthquake were to cause a flood and water damage, your policy may not pay for repairs. This is what a flood insurance policy is for.
Land: Generally, this coverage won’t cover sinkholes or erosion to your property due to an earthquake. There may be an exception if your policy includes Engineering Cost coverage. This coverage will pay a portion of the cost to stabilize the land.
Previous damage: If your property has pre-existing damage from an earthquake, your policy will not cover it.
Brickwork: If you have any masonry veneer—brickwork, stone, or rock that covers your home, you will want to discuss this before purchasing a policy. Some insurance policies may not cover the costs of masonry veneer. They may evaluate the cost of repairs using sliding materials or stucco.
How much coverage do you need?
Most earthquake insurance policies have limits to their coverage. They may also have sub-limits that limit the amount of coverage you can receive for a certain category. For example, the policy could have a sublimit of $4,000 for computers.
When you ensure your home for the appraisal value or loans value, you will generally have enough to cover the reconstruction of the home.
Dwelling coverage on your homeowners and earthquakes insurance usually have the same limit. Regularly review your policy and make sure your dwelling coverage doesn’t drop below 80% of your home’s value.
If it does drop below 80% of the home’s value, the insurance company may reduce the amount they will pay on a claim.
When determining how much coverage you will need, here are some important questions you should ask yourself:
How much would it cost if your home was destroyed? What portion of the damages could you pay?
How much would it cost to repair the damages to your household items, such as furniture or personal items? Is this something you could afford to repair?
If something happens to your home that makes it unlivable, could you pay for additional accommodations while your home was rebuilt? Will you need a temporary housing option?
Purchasing earthquake insurance could be worth it even if you don’t live near a fault line. As a result of oil drilling, some cities experience an uptick in seismic activity, such as Oklahoma.
If you are considering buying a home in areas that have frequent earthquakes, you may want to entertain purchasing earthquake insurance.
Here are a few questions to consider when determining if earthquake insurance is worth it:
Could you afford to pay for temporary housing and additional expenses?
If your personal items and furniture are damaged, could you afford to replace it?
Could you afford the expenditures for the reconstruction of your home if it was damaged?
Assess your policy needs and determine if you need earthquake insurance to fill in the financial gap.
How do earthquake insurance companies calculate your premium?
Earthquake insurance premiums may vary by location and property characteristics.
Some of the most common factors insurance companies use when determining earthquake insurance premiums include:
The age of the home: If you have an older home, your premium could be higher.
The location of the home: If your home is located in an earthquake-prone area or a fault line, premiums tend to be higher.
The structure of the home: Does your home have a concrete foundation or a slab block foundation? Does your home have a wood frame or brick structure? How many stories is it? Does it have a finished basement? These are all factors that can have an impact on an earthquake insurance premium.
The estimated expense of rebuilding the home: There are two options for replacing the contents of the home. You can choose to get a policy that provides replacement value, which will replace the contents of the damage. Another option is to select a policy with a cash value offer that pays a cash value for the contents of home based on age and wear.
The deductibles: You can also select a larger deductible to lower your premium. However, if an earthquake were to take place and cause damage, you’ll need to pay the full deductible amount.
There are many factors that will determine your premium. That’s why it’s important to shop around for the best insurance policy.
Another factor to consider is that, as with other types of residential insurance, your earthquake insurance policy is not tax deductible.
Reach out to several insurance companies and get an earthquake insurance quote. This will help with the decision-making process.
How to find the best earthquake insurance
Once you decide you need earthquake insurance, you will want to begin the shopping process. However, it can be a challenge to find the best policy. That’s why it’s important to do research in advance.