Earthquake Insurance in California: Are You Really Prepared?

Californians know that living in the Golden State means being prepared for earthquakes. Even though earthquakes happen regularly, many of us do not have earthquake insurance. Whether you are a first-time homebuyer or a seasoned homeowner, it’s crucial to understand earthquake insurance and how it relates to your property. In this article, we will discuss everything you need to know about earthquake insurance in California, including coverage, cost, and frequently asked questions.

What is Earthquake Insurance?

Earthquake insurance is a type of insurance that provides financial protection for damage caused by earthquakes. It covers repairs to your home, personal property, and additional living expenses if your home is uninhabitable due to earthquake damage. Unlike homeowners insurance, earthquake insurance is not included in standard policies and must be purchased separately.

According to the California Department of Insurance, there are two types of earthquake insurance policies:

Policy Type
Covers damage to your home and personal property
Covers damage to commercial buildings and their contents

It’s important to note that earthquake insurance policies can include a wide range of coverage options, deductibles, and premiums. Therefore, it is essential to talk to your insurance agent to make sure you are getting the coverage that meets your needs.

Why Do You Need Earthquake Insurance in California?

California is one of the most earthquake-prone regions in the United States. In fact, the Golden State experiences about 10,000 earthquakes each year, with approximately 15 to 20 of them being felt by people. Additionally, according to the California Earthquake Authority (CEA), there is a 99% chance of a magnitude 6.7 or larger earthquake hitting California in the next 30 years.

When an earthquake strikes, it can cause significant damage to your home and personal property. Without earthquake insurance, you may be responsible for costly repairs and replacements. Depending on the severity of the earthquake, it may take months to rebuild or repair your home, leaving you without a place to stay.

Earthquake insurance can provide peace of mind knowing that you are financially protected when an earthquake does strike.

How Much Does Earthquake Insurance Cost in California?

The cost of earthquake insurance in California varies depending on several factors, including:

The closer you are to a fault line, the higher the costs
Building Construction
The type of construction, such as wood or masonry, impacts the cost of insurance
The higher the deductible, the lower the premium
Coverage Limits
The higher the coverage limits, the higher the premium

According to the CEA, the average cost of earthquake insurance in California is around $800 per year. However, the cost can range from a few hundred dollars to several thousand dollars per year depending on the factors mentioned above.

Frequently Asked Questions About Earthquake Insurance

What is the Difference Between Earthquake Insurance and Homeowners Insurance?

Homeowners insurance covers damage caused by fire, theft, and other events that are not related to earthquakes. Earthquake insurance is specifically designed to cover damage caused by an earthquake.

Is Earthquake Insurance Required in California?

Earthquake insurance is not required in California, but it’s highly recommended, especially for those living in high-risk areas.

Do I Need Earthquake Insurance if I Rent?

If you are a renter in California, it’s essential to understand that your landlord’s insurance policy does not cover your personal property. Earthquake insurance can provide financial protection for your personal property and additional living expenses if your rental unit is uninhabitable due to earthquake damage.

Does Earthquake Insurance Cover Damage to My Car?

No, earthquake insurance does not cover damage to your car. However, your auto insurance policy may include coverage for earthquake damage if you have comprehensive coverage.

Can I Buy Earthquake Insurance After an Earthquake?

You can purchase earthquake insurance at any time. However, most insurance companies have a waiting period of 30-60 days before the policy goes into effect.


With the high risk of earthquakes in California, earthquake insurance is not an option, but a necessity. The right coverage can provide peace of mind and financial protection when an earthquake does strike. Talk to your insurance agent to find the coverage that meets your needs and budget, and start protecting your most significant investment – your home.