This is a direct quote from the USGS.Gov website about the Ridgecrest events.

“Aftershock Forecast

According to the current forecast, over the next one week, beginning on July 6, 2019 at 2:20 p.m. Pacific Time (5:20 p.m. ET), there is a 2% chance of one or more aftershocks that are larger than magnitude 7.1. It is likely that there will be smaller earthquakes over the next one week, with 220 to 330 magnitude 3 or higher aftershocks. Magnitude 3 and above are large enough to be felt near the epicenter. The number of aftershocks will drop off over time, but a large aftershock can increase the numbers again, temporarily.

No one can predict the exact time or place of any earthquake, including aftershocks. The USGS earthquake forecasts provide an understanding of the chances of having more earthquakes within a given time period in the affected area. The USGS calculates this earthquake forecast using a statistical analysis based on past earthquakes.”

Unfortunately, trying to get Earthquake Insurance after a major event is virtually impossible since most if not all insurance companies offering it will impose a moratorium until the danger has subsided.  That’s understandable from a business perspective.  How do you know if the damage occurred before or after the new policy was bound?  The risk for further claims is currently higher etc. But, if you are in an area that could suffer a severe earthquake and companies are still offering coverage here is what it could cover.

Reasonable costs that you may sustain from the loss of your residence due to earth movement. There are three major components to this coverage.

1.     Your home (called a dwelling in most policies) and its structure.

2.    Your personal property, like dishes, electronics, furniture, clothing etc.

3.    Loss of use or additional living expense should you have to live somewhere else while the home is repaired.

Structural damage would be cracks in the walls, ceiling, foundation etc. 

Damage to personal property would be those things broken or damaged during the quake due to falling and breaking or something falling on it and breaking it.  As an example, your ceiling beam falls during the quake and hits your TV.  Or your china falls out of the cupboard during the quake.

Loss of use would be the expense of staying in a hotel or temporary housing until the home was deemed safe to live in again.

All of these coverages have a high deductible and, in general, a low amount of coverage.  For example a policy might cover up to $100,000 of structural damage with a 15% (or $15,000) deductible.  These policies can be quite pricey too.  But since, with rare exception, your home owner’s policy does not cover earthquake damage, it may be worth purchasing if you feel you live in a vulnerable, earthquake prone, area.

Here is a link to the USGS.GOV US map of the areas of risk.

You might notice that Las Vegas and Reno are located in the highest risk defined areas.

If you are interested in a quote for Earthquake Insurance or have questions about this subject or what your home owners policy would cover please give us a call at 702-562-2886.

Contributed by Victoria Sutherland, Licensed Insurance Agent