Am I covered if an earthquake damages my home?
Unless you’ve purchased specific earthquake coverage, you are not covered by a standard homeowners policy. So, any and all structural damage to the home and any loss of furnishings and/or personal possessions would not be covered.
How does earthquake insurance work?
Your homeowners policy excludes coverage to the dwelling for earth movement meaning earthquakes, and any other earth movement, including earth sinking, rising or shifting.
You can purchase an endorsement to a homeowners, renters or business policy
or as a separate policy to cover your losses from earthquakes and aftershocks. Since different building materials react differently to earth movement (brick versus wood, for example), premiums vary by the type of construction of the building.
Earthquake insurance deductibles are considerably higher than standard deductibles. Usually they are determined by a percentage of the building’s value, generally from 5 percent to 25 percent for homeowners.
Can I buy earthquake insurance at any time?
The only time you can’t buy the coverage for a home is within 72 hours after an earthquake, since there may be damaging aftershocks within that period of time.
With earthquake coverage, am I covered for aftershocks?
Yes. With a homeowners earthquake endorsement, any damage from the earthquake and from aftershocks that happen within 72 hours of the earthquake will be considered one occurrence, so you will pay your deductible only once.
I belong to a condo association. What if the common property is damaged?
If you belong to a townhouse or condominium association that has inadequate earthquake coverage or none at all, you could be charged for repairs to common property.
If you have earthquake coverage and loss assessment coverage on your unit-owners policy, you may be able to extend it to cover you for this liability to the association. Please check with our agency for more information.
Do I really need earthquake coverage in this area of the country?
Small earthquakes occur frequently in the Northeast. In fact, there have been 1,134 recorded earthquakes in the states of Connecticut, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York and Vermont over the last 400 years; nine of them having caused significant damage.
While a New York earthquake registered a 5.3 on the Richter Scale in 2002, earthquake hazard maps generally show that most parts of New England are considered “low hazard” areas.