Earthquakes and homeowners insurance

If you're a homeowner, you probably already have insurance coverage of one form or another. Whether it's mortgage insurance, homeowners insurance or a policy for your vehicle, there are many ways to protect your finances from outside forces and exterior elements. However, gaps in coverage can leave you vulnerable to paying for repairs from damage all on your own.

Your home is likely your most expensive and valuable asset, which means you should take all steps to protect it. If you have a homeowners insurance policy, it can be worthwhile to go over what it covers and where you might be lacking protection. Specifically, you should look for how your policy tackles earthquake coverage, or if you have it at all.

Why you need earthquake coverage
Under many renters and homeowners policies earthquake coverage is not included in the general plans. And yet earthquakes can cause some serious damage that can cost a pretty penny. While you might not have ever experienced an earthquake before, it's important to consider how much it will cost should one hit your area. Could you afford to rebuild or repair your home after extensive damage?

If you own a home that has more than one story, has crawl spaces, is made out of brick or has a wood frame, you could be at risk for damage, as these types of homes are more susceptible during an earthquake.

According to the U.S. Geological Survey, there are several million earthquakes throughout the world every year. That's roughly 50 of these events every day. Though many are considered to be low in magnitude with little threat of causing damage, there are many that can be serious. In addition, some areas are certainly more prone to earthquakes than others, but the dangers are everywhere.

When to get earthquake insurance
The best time to get insurance coverage for an earthquake is before you experience one. In the days or weeks following an earthquake, it is possible for aftershocks to hit the area. As a result, some insurance companies may not allow homeowners to purchase a policy 30 or 60 days after an initial earthquake. However, this would probably be the time when you would want to purchase coverage the most. To protect your home and finances, it's in your best interest to get coverage before an occurrence.

The danger of feeling rock solid
The real problem with not having earthquake insurance is the financial downfall that can occur as a result of a devastating magnitude. Furthermore, it's practically impossible to predict when and where the next one will happen. While you don't need to be constantly in fear of the earth rumbling beneath your feet, you should take steps to protect your home with proper coverage. If you're unsure of what your policy already includes, call your insurance provider to find out and add coverage if necessary. In general, you should find a policy that covers your belongings that could be destroyed or damaged as well as the cost of rebuilding your home if walls collapse.

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