Insuring Against Earthquake and Tsunami Damage in California

Earthquake insurance

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If you own your home, it is probably your biggest single asset. In seconds, an earthquake can cause major damage to both the structure and its contents. Following the steps in this handbook will help to protect your family from injuries and reduce your losses, but you may still have some level of damage and will need to repair or replace belongings. One option for managing these potential costs is to buy earthquake insurance.

Most standard homeowners, mobile home owners’, condominium, and renters’ insurance policies do not cover earthquake damage; it is generally a separate policy you can purchase when buying homeowners insurance. All insurance companies that sell residential property insurance in California are required by law to offer earthquake insurance to homeowners when the policy is first sold and every two years thereafter.

Most of the companies that sell residential property insurance in California participate in the California Earthquake Authority (CEA) and offer CEA’s residential earthquake policies. Find out more at http://www.earthquakeauthority.com/

Tsunami Flood Insurance

Flood insurance is not included on homeowner’s policies and cannot be purchased through residential insurance companies. A separate flood insurance policy issued through the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) covers damages due to tsunamis as well as other flooding events and includes:

  • Losses that result from flood-related erosion
  • Damage due to mudflows if caused by flooding
  • Flood damage to the building itself — foundation elements, post, piling, piers or other support systems in elevated buildings

Flood insurance does not cover buildings that are entirely over water (like a boat house), and structures other than buildings (like fences, retaining walls, swimming pools, walkways, decks, driveways, etc.)You can find out about your flood risk by entering your property address information at floodsmart.com.