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The magnitude 5.3 earthquake that rattled a vast area of Southern California earlier this month is another reminder the Golden State is in prime earthquake country.
Here are three facts to know about earthquakes and earthquake insurance.
1. Standard home insurance does not cover earthquakes
The standard homeowner’s insurance policy will not cover costs to replace your house or personal property after an earthquake.
For an extra price, home insurers in California are required to offer supplemental earthquake coverage. If you live in another state, you’ll likely need to shop for a policy dedicated to these natural disasters.
Since 2014, Oklahoma has experienced the second-highest number of temblors registering at least a 3.0 magnitude, after Alaska.
2. Insurers won’t sell coverage immediately after severe earthquakes
You need to have your earthquake insurance in place before the next big one because insurance companies will typically suspend sales of earthquake insurance following a severe quake.
Specifics vary by company, but sales will stop for 30 to 60 days after a 4.5 to 5.0 magnitude temblor or greater. Insurers won’t offer coverage again until they feel certain aftershocks have subsided.
3. Aftershocks can be more destructive than earthquakes
A massive earthquake will often trigger a series of smaller quakes, called aftershocks.
While usually mild, occasionally an aftershock will be more potent than the initial earthquake. According to the U.S. Geological Survey between 5% and 10% of earthquakes in California produce an even more powerful quake within a week.
Unlike tornadoes and hurricanes, there is no way to predict when an earthquake will occur. Talk to a trusted insurance advisor to help secure earthquake insurance, so you can recover quickly if a big one damages your home and personal property.