Does Renters Insurance Cover Earthquakes?

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Earthquake damage to personal property is not covered by renters insurance. The exclusion on a renters insurance policy also applies to other earth movements like sinkholes, mudslides, landslides, lava flow and more. These perils are also not covered by the landlord’s insurance. The only way to protect your belongings as a renter is to buy an earthquake insurance policy. Not only will your things be covered due to damage, but you’ll also have assistance in moving out and finding a new home with the loss of use coverage component of an earthquake policy. Earthquake insurance is generally inexpensive and important to have if you live in an earthquake-prone state. Here’s more.

How Much Does Earthquake Insurance Cost?

Prices on earthquake insurance vary according to location. In California alone, prices may range from $3 a month (for $5,000 worth of coverage) to $12 ($50,000 worth of coverage), depending on coverage limits, where you live and how close it is to a fault line. That may be even cheaper than renters insurance.

Factors that determine earthquake insurance cost:

  • Location of the home
  • Age of the home
  • Cost to rebuild the home
  • Your deductible
  • Whether or not the home is retrofitted

In California, prices on an earthquake policy may range from $3 a month (for $5,000 worth of coverage) to $12 ($50,000 worth of coverage).

How Much Earthquake Coverage Should I Buy?

We always advise renters to take inventory of all their possessions. Earthquakes may destroy all your possessions, so begin taking photos or a video of all your belongings. Also, assign a price to each item and see what the total is. You should buy enough coverage to protect all that you may lose. For some renters, $5,000 is adequate, while someone renting a big home with lots of furniture may want $50,000 worth of coverage.

Do I Need To Have Earthquake Insurance?

No one is legally required to buy earthquake insurance. However, do not look to your renters insurance to reimburse you for losses after an earthquake because only earthquake insurance can pay you for what’s been destroyed after a catastrophe caused by earth movements. The tremors of an earthquake may cause all your glassware and artwork to fall and break. Only you know what you own and whether or not it makes sense to spend a few extra dollars to protect your belongings.

Dangers of Liquefaction (Liquified Soil)

A mudslide or landslide may bring liquified soil into your home and destroy your furniture and clothing. An earthquake insurance will cover liquefaction.

With earthquake insurance, your things will be covered due to damage and you’ll also receive assistance in paying for temporary shelter.

What Does Earthquake Insurance Cover?

Earthquake insurance covers all earth movements and damage caused by it:

  • Earthquakes
  • Mudslides
  • Landslides
  • Liquefaction
  • Rockslides
  • Sinkholes

Coverage means payment for the following:

  • Appliances (not owned by the landlord)
  • Clothing
  • Shoes
  • Artwork
  • Electronics
  • Toiletries
  • Linens
  • Living expenses, like hotel stays (while your rental is uninhabitable)
  • Instruments
  • Plants
  • Jewelry
  • Watches
  • Furniture
  • Glassware
  • Pottery
  • China
  • Debris removal
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What Does Earthquake Insurance Not Cover?

Just as with renters insurance, earthquake insurance will not cover everything that is damaged due to the earth’s movements. The following are not covered by renters earthquake insurance:

Not Covered  Insurance Type for Coverage
Auto Damage Comprehensive Car Insurance
Flooding Flood Insurance
Sewer or Drain Backup Your Landlord’s Insurance
*Some Policies Exclude Earth Movements Other Than Earthquakes An Earthquake Policy With a New Insurer

* Most earthquake policies cover all earth movements but not all do. You can compare rates with other carriers if you want fuller coverage.

Prices on earthquake insurance vary according to location.

Earthquake Insurance FAQs

How much earthquake insurance do I need?

You will need enough insurance to rebuild your home and to replace personal belongings and to take care of expenses if your home becomes uninhabitable. Some people only choose to cover the dwelling (the house itself) and not cover personal belongings to save money on premiums. However, if you do that you will need to reach into your own pocket to replace your things.

Is there a discounted premium for earthquake insurance?

Yes, if your home is retrofitted, you may be due a discount. For instance, the California Earthquake Authority (CEA) offers residential earthquake insurance premium discounts for older houses (up to 25%), and mobile homes (21%) that have been properly retrofitted to better withstand earthquakes. A seismic retrofit involves strengthening your dwelling to make it more resistant to shaking.

How much is a deductible for earthquake insurance?

You can choose coverage deductibles of 5%, 10%, 15%, 20%, or 25%. This payment structure is a bit different from a renters insurance deductible, but is still the same in that the higher the deductible, the lower your monthly payments. You must be able pay the deductible, which will be deducted from the insurance payout you receive.

Will I be covered for a flood or fire caused by an earthquake with earthquake insurance?

You may be covered for the consequences of the earthquake’s tremors with renters insurance. If not, you can claim it on your earthquake insurance policy.

Key Takeaways

  • Renters earthquake insurance is not required but wise to purchase if you live in an earthquake prone area.
  • Earthquake insurance also covers sinkholes, landslides, mudslides, rockslides and other earth movements.
  • Your earthquake insurance policy’s cost will depend on how much your inventory of possessions totals.
  • Your renters insurance may cover a fire or flood that results from an earthquake.

While you may not be required by your landlord to purchase earthquake insurance, consider what you’d have to spend if your belongings needed to be replaced due to an especially strong earthquake or other earth movement. Earthquake insurance is not meant to replace renters insurance. If you’re interested in getting free quotes for an inexpensive earthquake and renters insurance bundle, enter your zip code below, answer a few questions and you’ll soon hear back from the agents offering the best value for your buck.

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