Best Earthquake Insurance Companies
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UPDATED: May 26, 2021
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You’ve done everything to safeguard your home from earthquake damage — added anchor bolts to your foundation, applied shatterproof film to your windows, and patched the cracks in your walls.
You have an escape plan, a radio at the ready, and a homeowners insurance policy… but is that enough?
What even the most prepared families often don’t realize is that earthquake insurance isn’t automatically covered by a homeowners insurance policy.
Luckily, you can find it as an add-on or a separate policy.
It’s possible to buy earthquake coverage for an apartment, condo, single-family home, or office building as long as you know what to look for.
Top 7 Earthquake Insurance Companies
Here are the top 7 providers of earthquake insurance:
In evaluating the top earthquake insurance companies, we considered depth and breadth of coverage as well as customizability and value for money.
We also investigated each provider’s reputation and financial stability, plus the ease of filing a claim in case things get shaken up.
A trusted homeowners insurance provider, Farmers, is constantly cited in best-of lists.
With straight-A industry ratings, favorable reviews, and a below-average complaint ratio as assessed by the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC), they’re a trustworthy choice for anyone looking to safeguard their home and belongings from seismic dangers.
Farmers makes it easy to find earthquake coverage for any type of dwelling, from single-family homes and townhouses to apartments, condos, and office buildings.
You’ll be eligible for discounts if you bundle earthquake insurance with other policies, but you’ll have to speak with a Farmers agent over the phone to generate a customized quote. Once you’re insured, you can easily manage your account through Farmers’ mobile app and file claims online or over the phone, 24/7.
Earthquake insurance limits range from $100,000 to $500,000, including dwelling coverage, personal belongings, and personal injury protection. Services like broken glass cleanup, debris removal, and systems repairs are also part of the package.
Another well-known name in the insurance industry, Allstate underwrites individual earthquake insurance policies in a number of high-risk regions.
It’s not an add-on to homeowners insurance, but existing customers are eligible for a variety of discounts, including multi-policy and loyalty discounts. This makes it a great choice for those looking to fully insure their home from all possible threats through one provider and for those seeking out a standalone policy.
Speak with a representative to see if Allstate’s earthquake coverage is available in your area.
Through Allstate, you can find coverage for both residential and office buildings. Their comprehensive customer service includes email and phone support; claims can conveniently be reported online and over the phone, 24/7.
Their Easy Pay Plan allows customers to schedule automatic payments with a potential 5 percent discount, easing the costs and stress of the billing process.
For Allstate’s earthquake insurance, limits fall within the $100,000 to $500,000 range. This includes coverage for property damage, personal belongings, glass and debris cleanup, and systems repairs, but personal injury is not included.
State Farm Insurance
State Farm, a well-known homeowners insurance provider, offers earthquake coverage as a separate endorsement.
While policy specifics vary by location, in general, they cover repairs and replacements for structures and personal belongings along with personal injury coverage. Single-family homes and individual units in multi-family dwellings, as well as offices, can be insured through State Farm.
While coverage minimums and maximums vary, you can expect a policy limit equal to that of your homeowners insurance. As a State Farm customer, you’ll have access to online and phone support and can also enjoy the convenience of State Farm’s mobile app. Through the app, you can easily manage your account, change your coverage, and even submit claims.
State Farm earthquake policies typically include personal belongings, personal injury, and dwelling coverage as well as services like debris removal, broken glass clean-up, and repairs to electrical and plumbing systems.
Liberty Mutual Insurance
The oldest insurance provider on our list, Liberty Mutual has a century-long history and a solid reputation in the modern era. They were ranked by J.D. Power among the top 20 insurance providers in 2009 and continue to see favorable ratings.
Liberty Mutual’s extensive menu of insurance products includes earthquake coverage for renters, homeowners, and those looking to insure offices against violent quakes and tremors.
While premiums and policy limits vary from one home to another, coverage typically offers protection for structures, belongings, and persons affected by earthquakes.
Liberty Mutual’s earthquake insurance can be added onto a homeowners insurance policy, but separate deductibles apply.
With Liberty Mutual’s earthquake insurance, policy limits vary but tend to be on par with what’s in your homeowners policy. Coverage includes protection for dwellings and personal property, as well as personal injury and additional living expenses.
Nationwide is a leading insurance provider and is known for its financial strength and great reputation. A very low NAIC complaint ratio and A+ ratings from A.M. Best, BBB, and S&P make Nationwide an attractive and reliable choice for insurance coverage.
Nationwide offers a unique “Brand New Belongings” offering, which takes repair and replacement coverage up a notch. They’ll pay for the depreciation of your belongings first and then spot you the difference after you send in the receipt for the new items you purchased.
Through their “Better Roof Replacement” program, you can ensure that the new roof over your head will be stronger, sturdier, and safer than the previous one. Like earthquake insurance, both of these are optional add-ons to homeowners insurance and are suitable for those seeking total coverage.
Nationwide offers earthquake coverage for apartments, condos, townhouses, single-family homes, and offices in all 50 states. It includes personal belongings and personal injury along with dwelling coverage, system repairs, and debris and broken glass removal services.
Policy limits vary based on risk, location, and the construction of each home, but you can request a quote from a Nationwide representative.
USAA’s suite of insurance products and financial services are only available to military personnel, veterans, and their families. Given its long history and financial strength — which has garnered top ratings from S&P, Moody’s, and A.M. Best — service-members and other eligible individuals should add USAA to their shortlist of earthquake insurance providers.
Through USAA, earthquake coverage can be purchased for homes but not for commercial buildings. Customers have access to helpful phone support, an online claims center, and an easy-to-navigate mobile app for streamlined claims reporting.
Policies feature relatively low policy limits and minimal discounts, compared to other providers. Nonetheless, they’re a good option for military families seeking no-frills coverage and good service.
USAA’s earthquake policies insure personal injury, personal belongings, and dwellings. They also include repairs to plumbing and electrical systems, as well as the removal of debris and shattered glass. They offer a maximum of $200,000 in coverage, which is lower than the $500,000 maximum offered by competitors.
A lesser-known and less widely available option, Mercury’s earthquake coverage is available to homes and offices in only a handful of states:
- New Jersey
- New York
Residents of these states can request quotes for Mercury’s comprehensive earthquake insurance to see how it stacks up against the competition. In the event of an earthquake, Mercury’s coverage protects properties, persons, and dwellings. They administer a mobile app and online claims portal but no 24-hour phone claims service.
Policy minimums and maximums vary by location. Mercury’s earthquake insurance includes personal belongings, dwelling coverage, and personal injury protection along with systems repairs and clean-up services for debris and broken glass.
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What Does Earthquake Insurance Cover?
Seismic activity can wreak havoc on a home, but earthquake insurance will protect you from the costs of fixing things up.
Policies typically include dwelling and personal property coverage, as well as additional living expenses.
- Dwelling Coverage: Dwelling coverage will cover the expense of repairing structural damage — cracked foundations, crumbling walls, sunken roofs, and the like.
- Personal Property Coverage: Personal property coverage will pay the costs related to damaged belongings like appliances, electronics, and furniture.
- Additional Living Expenses: Most policies include additional living expenses — also called loss of use coverage — which will help finance a temporary relocation. Many offer personal injury protection as well.
Some insurance companies provide additional services that can help you get back into your home more quickly.
These can include:
- debris removal
- emergency repairs to plumbing
- emergency repairs to electrical systems
- clean-up and restoration services
You may also be able to insure other structures on your property such as tool sheds and detached garages for an additional fee, since these aren’t always included.
What Does Earthquake Insurance NOT Cover?
Keep in mind that earthquake insurance usually doesn’t cover the following:
- Fires: You’re protected from fire and smoke damage under your homeowners policy.
- Sinkholes: Coverage may be included in your homeowners insurance or available as an add-on.
- Floods: Flood insurance can be purchased separately.
- Cars: Your auto insurance will cover vehicle damage.
Is Earthquake Insurance Necessary?
You’re not legally required to have earthquake insurance — or even homeowners or renters insurance, for that matter (though most if not all mortgage lenders will require it).
To decide if earthquake coverage is right for you, consider the costs associated with a seismic disaster.
- Could you pay for hotel fees or temporary rent while your home is under construction?
- Can you afford to rebuild your home out of pocket, essentially paying for your home twice?
- Or would you rather pay a few hundred dollars per year for peace of mind and financial protection?
A common assumption is that you only need earthquake insurance if you live in California. The state does make it easy to acquire coverage — companies that provide homeowners insurance in the Golden State are required to provide optional earthquake coverage as well.
Residents can find and purchase policies through the California Earthquake Authority (CEA). But Californians aren’t the only ones who need protection.
The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) explains that all 50 states are at risk for “damaging earthquake shaking.” According to USGS data, 84% of states have a “reasonable chance” of experiencing some in the next 50 years. (For reference, modern buildings are expected to survive for 50 to 120 years, depending on how their constructed.)
Here are the states with a “relatively high likelihood” of damage-causing tremors and temblors:
- South Carolina
If you live anywhere near the San Andreas Fault Line in California, the New Madrid Seismic Zone in Missouri, or the Ramapo Fault Line in the Mid-Atlantic, you’d be wise to consider earthquake insurance. But USGS advises that the most problematic fault may not be the one closest to your home; far-off aftershocks can cause unexpected wreckage. You may still be in danger even if you’re not along a fault line.
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Earthquake Insurance Cost
In a high-risk region, annual premiums can fall into the $500 to $1,000 range. In some expensive and high-risk metropolitan areas like San Francisco, premiums can reach into the low thousands.
Unfortunately, earthquake insurance policies come with steep deductibles of 10 or even 20 percent. If your policy has a $250,000 limit with a 20 percent deductible, this means you’ll end up paying $50,000 out of pocket for repairs. If your home experiences $45,000 worth of damage, you won’t see any benefits from your insurance provider. Many homeowners shy away from earthquake insurance because of the chance of falling short of the deductible, but a lower deductible may be worth a higher premium.
According to a 2019 NPR report, only 13% of California residents have earthquake insurance; their neighbors believe it to be too expensive. But it doesn’t have to be. Industry data shows that renters can anticipate annual premiums of about $300 for $50,000 worth of coverage with a 5 percent deductible, plus $1,500 for additional living expenses. For only $25 per month, this could be a valuable investment.
The true cost to insure your home against earthquake damage will depend on a few different factors, including:
- Risk of seismic activity
- Home’s age
- Number of stories
- Foundation type
- Construction type
- Soil type
- Cost of rebuilding
For instance, masonry construction is more expensive to insure than wood frame construction, which can better absorb shocks and shaking. In many cases, masonry veneer isn’t even covered. In some areas, residents can receive discounts for bracing and reinforcing their homes.
To see what kind of discounts and premiums you’re eligible for, you’ll need to request quotes specific to your property and your needs.
Is Earthquake Insurance Worth It?
It’s impossible to predict an earthquake — even experts can’t say for certain when the earth might start rumbling and how much damage the next quake might cause. But it is possible to prepare for the worst.
Since earthquake insurance premiums and policy limits are dependent on a number of factors, like your proximity to a fault line and the construction of your home, it’s difficult to know how much you might pay without asking. Providers don’t offer sample quotes either, so you might not know what to expect.
If, like many homeowners, you’re worried that coverage will be too expensive for you, go ahead and call around to ask for a few quotes from our top earthquake insurance providers. This is the only real way to know what your annual premium and deductible will be. Once you have all the information at your fingertips, you can compare your options and make an informed decision.
If you’re thinking about getting insured, act sooner rather than later. Most providers won’t issue new policies for up to two months following an earthquake due to the risk of aftershocks. In some cases, these can be more severe than the initial incident.
Check with your current homeowners or renters insurance to see if it’s possible to include earthquake coverage to an existing policy, or request a quote from one of our recommended picks.
Look for a rock-solid policy with a low deductible to protect your home and finances from sudden, violent tremors. Don’t forget to set aside some money in the amount of your deductible. This way, you’ll actually be able to finance the repairs in case something happens.