Top 4 Questions about Shopping for Earthquake Insurance Answered

Everyone is setting goals now that it’s a new year (and a new decade!). Do your goals include retirement, getting your finances in order, or protecting your nest egg? You might be one of the many asking themselves if getting earthquake insurance should be a priority, or if it is worth getting earthquake insurance at all.

We’ve searched the internet to compile this list of the top questions asked when people are shopping for earthquake insurance. 

These are the Top 4 Earthquake Insurance Questions

  1. Do I need full earthquake insurance coverage or limited coverage? How much coverage do I need?
  2. What is the average deductible? 
  3. How do I know if the earthquake insurance carrier is financially secure?
  4. How much does earthquake insurance cost?
Shopping for an earthquake insurance policy that fits you takes thought, but the investment is worth it.

Do I need full earthquake insurance coverage or limited coverage? How much coverage do I need?

Your earthquake insurance policy should reflect the amount of coverage that you need based on a few factors: 

  • The amount of equity you have in your home
  • Your risk factor
  • How much you’re willing to pay to repair or replace your home
  • Your retirement plan and nest egg
  • The location of your home
  • Protection against demand surge

Coverage depends on the amount you’re willing to spend to repair or replace your home and its contents. Earthquake insurance coverage helps you prepare financially for devastating earthquake events. Your home equity is an essential part of your life savings, and it could be at risk. 

With an earthquake policy, you could have coverage for repairs to your home, costs of temporary housing while repairing your home, and replacement of your personal belongings in your home. This coverage doesn’t just fix your home but can cover the cost of restoring your home to its same standards and unique features.

There are a couple of types of policies you could secure based on how much coverage you want. There are limited coverage policies and full coverage policies. A limited coverage policy can help cover the dwelling (your home) and offer limited coverages for other things, like contents or temporary living expenses. A full-coverage policy provides comprehensive protection for your home and other limits. To compare the two for coverages and costs, you can get a quote to see the premiums for each type of policy for your property.

What is the average earthquake insurance deductible?

Your deductible will be a percentage of the total coverage you have selected. Because the deductible is a percentage of coverage, it varies by the location of the property. 

Your earthquake policy will offer deductible options for you to review. Depending on which option you choose and your home’s location, you could have a deductible as low as 10%. Choosing a higher deductible could also help with reducing your premium–it all depends on what best fits your needs. If you get a quote, you’ll be able to compare how the deductible options can make a difference in your premium. 

How do I know if the earthquake insurance carrier is financially secure?

Many homeowners are concerned that a reliable carrier won’t provide an earthquake insurance policy. In the event of an earthquake, especially a large one, people often think that insurance carriers can’t handle so many claims on such a large scale. This is why it is essential to do your research on the carrier when considering who to choose. 

So, when considering an earthquake insurance carrier, look at their history of claims experience and their financial strength rating. You can check A.M. Best Company, the leading expert of financial strength ratings, for a review of insurance carriers’ financial stability scores. For example, GeoVera Insurance Company is rated by A.M. Best as an “A” (Excellent) in addition to being part of a group with two decades’ of strong claims history for catastrophic risks. 

How much does earthquake insurance cost? Is it worth it?

Earthquake insurance companies use a few factors to determine how much your earthquake insurance premium will be. These factors include your home’s location, the construction type of your home, the cost to rebuild your home, and the deductible amount that you select. For more details, check out our guide, “How is my earthquake insurance coverage limit calculated?“. 

The best way to find out how much a policy will cost and if it is worth it is to get an earthquake insurance quote and consider if you could cover the cost of earthquake damage without insurance coverage. Get a quote here, or visit our site to find an earthquake agent near you for expert advice. 

Disaster Response in the Dark: What an Earthquake Could Do to your Cell Phone

Recent wildfires in California caused widespread cellphone outages. Some residents were unable to make or receive calls for several days. These interruptions coincided with the planned power shut-offs at the time when people would need their cellphones most for evacuation warnings and communication with loved ones. If you think about disaster response without communication, you realize how scary this truly can be.

It wasn’t just cellphones. Some had issues with landline phone service through their broadband internet provider — furthermore, some experienced issues for traditional copper-based landline phones.

Emergency and disaster response teams had to rely on radio communications, which created extra traffic during an emergency.  

Concerns about these interruptions and outages are not limited to wildfires. When the next earthquake strikes, the communication network is not prepared to handle the response. 

There aren’t any federal or state regulations that require backup power for cell service. The next Big One could knock out power to the infrastructure, and cell companies are unprepared to respond. Landlines are not only unreliable but also challenging to find when an earthquake impacts an entire area. 

Radio is the most reliable method of communication after a significant event. After the Kincade fire, the radio became the primary source of communication. While cell companies are unprepared, that doesn’t mean you can’t get prepared. 

Get prepared today for the next earthquake. Read up on best practices and have your emergency supplies ready. The next Big One is coming, and it’s not a matter of if, but when it will strike. 

Disasters can disrupt cell phones for disaster response.
Earthquakes and other events can interrupt disaster response communications.

Earthquake Early Warning System Tested after a Spike of Seismic Activity

Multiple Channels of Earthquake Communications
Technology helps to improve earthquake preparation and response.

Recent fires in California have everyone on high alert for disaster. Fortunately, residents have been able to get live fire updates with the use of text subscriptions, social media, and real-time maps. These updates are crucial for when a disaster, like an earthquake or wildfire, strikes. 

So how can residents be better prepared before a destructive earthquake strikes? Scientists aren’t able to predict the next big earthquake. Research is working towards that goal, but we may never be able to pinpoint when the Big One is coming. We can only prepare as if it could happen at any time. 

After years of anticipation, authorities unveiled the California Earthquake Early Warning System this month. In fact, the system was announced on the thirtieth anniversary of the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake. 

There will be warnings issued in two ways to help with earthquake response communications: a mobile app called MyShake and through Amber Alerts. With this combination, the warning system can reach a wider audience. It combines smartphone technology with traditional methods of communication.

This isn’t about responding after the quake, either. That’s what makes this announcement so exciting: the system is one step closer to anticipating an earthquake. It uses seismic monitoring sensors across the state to quickly alert residents before the ground begins to shake. 

Residents will have the chance to “drop, cover, and hold on” moments before the shaking starts. It could give people anywhere between a second to tens of seconds to brace for the shaking, and that could save lives.

The California Earthquake Early Warning System was tested last month when a spike of seismic activity activated in the San Francisco Bay Area and Central California. Two earthquakes, one in Pleasant Hill and another in Hollister, jolted with quakes larger than 4 magnitude. Alerts were sent out seconds before people felt the shaking. While it’s not a perfect system, the outlook is bright for the future. 

Fault Lines Are Creeping in California

It’s all too perfect that there is new, creepy activity happening in the California fault lines just before Halloween. 

California fault lines could be a threat to your house.
Are you prepared, or will the next earthquake spook you?

Recent California Earthquakes

In recent weeks, California has had an uptick in seismic activity, some of which experts have linked to a creeping section of the San Andreas fault system. Most recently, Pleasant Hill and Hollister both experienced magnitude 4.5 and 4.7 earthquakes, respectively. 

To have two 4.5 magnitude quakes in one week in California is a little unusual.

New Movement in the Fault Lines

At the same time, for the first time on record, the Garlock Fault has been moving. This fault houses the potential to produce a magnitude 8 earthquake, and this “creeping” is a by-product of the Ridgecrest earthquakes in July. With the heightened concern about the San Andreas faultline and the “Big One” coming, new or unprecedented activity is enough to catch the attention of seismic experts

The Garlock Fault’s movement is known as “creep”: meaning that it is moving at a slow, continuous pace. Creep is typical among California faults, and creep could also trigger an earthquake nearby. The San Andreas fault has often had spells of creeping in reaction to other nearby earthquakes.  Scientists are especially concerned about the San Andreas’s potential for disaster, but that’s not to say it’s the only cause for concern.

Can creeping fault lines cause earthquakes?

Fault lines are more closely tied together than you would imagine. A seismic event can ripple out and influence the delicate web of fault lines around it. Earthquakes of all sizes are a reality for California life, and what could set off the domino effect is unclear. This rise in seismic activity serves as an important reminder: 

It’s best to assume the Big One could happen at any time, and it’s essential to be ready for it.

The earthquake drought of California will end, but when?

California faces more than a lack of rain. The Los Angeles Times declared that California is in an earthquake drought, and the end of the drought will bring destructive results.

Map of Southern California with active earthquake faults
Low levels of earthquake activity is a high risk for California

When Will the Next Big Earthquake Strike?

In this L.A. Times article, experts paint a clear (and unsettling) picture of a big quake waiting to happen. In fact, California earthquakes are inevitable. We don’t know when or where, but we do know that an earthquake will happen:

“Earthquakes must happen at some point to relieve the immense tectonic forces that are pushing part of the state northwest toward Alaska and the rest southeast toward Mexico.”

L.A. TIMES

While it could be nice to say this drought is good news–who doesn’t like a break from earthquakes, right? –it isn’t. A drought means that there has been more time for tension to build up in the earth’s crust without a way to relieve the tension:

“[There may be periods] where things get kind of all locked up and no earthquakes happen for a while. You store a lot of strain in the Earth’s crust. Once it gets going, it’s like a set of dominoes. You might get multiple events if you have enough strain energy stored in the crust because it’s been a long time since an earthquake.”

Tom Jordan, USC Professor

The New Earthquake Era

Grass growing through a crack in the paved road
Can California handle the earthquake threat below the surface?

This drought also means that Californians aren’t necessarily prepared for a large-scale quake. The last California earthquake that was greater than 7 magnitude was in 1857. The 6.7 magnitude Northridge quake was in 1994 and the 6.9 magnitude Loma Prieta quake was in 1989. There are people alive today who have no personal experience with earthquakes of this size, and there isn’t anyone alive today that would have experienced a California quake as big as the earthquake of 1857.

First-hand experience of a major earthquake tragically brings awareness to the forefront, and few Californians have that experience. Earthquakes almost seem like a myth to some people in California despite the major earthquakes the Loma Prieta and Northridge quakes and other quakes that have struck other countries in recent years. Only 10% of California homeowners have earthquake insurance coverage, and many of those homeowners live within thirty miles of an active fault.

Experts say that it’s important to be prepared. There is, potentially, an entirely new era of earthquakes looming ahead with more frequent (or destructive) events.

What does that new era look like? Are you prepared for the end of the drought? Now is the time to ask yourself these questions and get prepared.