Does tenant insurance cover earthquakes?


When you are thinking about purchasing tenant insurance, you may be asking yourself, “Does tenant insurance cover earthquakes?” It’s a good question to ask yourself, especially if you live in a state where earthquakes occur. The short answer is no, earthquake damage is not a covered risk with most tenant insurance policies.

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Although tenant insurance doesn’t cover earthquakes, there are other types of insurance that do. Tenants can take out separate earthquake insurance to close the coverage gap. Earthquake insurance for tenants is available from most major insurers. However, adding this policy will increase your premium.

[ Read: Earthquake Insurance – Is It Worth It? ]

Do I need a separate policy to cover earthquake damage?

Yes, if you rent your house or apartment, you will need to purchase earthquake insurance separately. Some insurance companies sell stand-alone earthquake insurance policies, while others sell earthquake insurance that is added to your basic rental policy.

Earthquake damage is almost never covered by tenant insurance or home insurance. The most notable exception is the USAA, which includes earthquake insurance in their tenant insurance. However, for the majority of providers, tenants must purchase separate coverage.

[ Read: How Much Renters Insurance Do I Need? ]

If you don’t want to get traditional earthquake insurance through your tenant insurance, you may be able to get one through your state. For example, California residents can purchase coverage through the California Earthquake Authority (CEA).

How do earthquake endorsements work and what do they cover?

If you live in an area where earthquakes occur or if you live near a fault line, it is a good idea to consider purchasing an earthquake notice. Earthquake insurance for tenants covers losses caused by earthquakes. As a tenant, earthquake insurance covers your personal effects that are damaged or destroyed by seismic activity.

For example, let’s say a major earthquake hits your area and knocks your refrigerator over, leaving a large crack in the hallway. In that case, your earthquake insurance would cover the floor repairs and the cost of a new refrigerator, as well as any structural problems caused by the falling object.

However, earthquake insurance usually does not cover what your tenant insurance already covers. Here is an example. Imagine you were cooking on the stove when an earthquake hit and in the frenzy of the moment you accidentally started a small fire. In this case, your tenant insurance will cover the fire damage, not your earthquake insurance.

[ Read: What Is Personal Property Insurance? ]

In addition to property damage, earthquake insurance also includes coverage for loss of use. This policy, also known as the additional cost of living, pays for hotel bills, meals, parking, and laundry if your home is damaged and you need to move out temporarily.

Can I combine tenant and earthquake insurance claims?

Earthquake insurance is important for certain tenants. In reality, however, there is an overlap between tenant insurance and earthquake insurance. When you add earthquake certification to your tenant insurance, you double the personal property coverage and the additional cost of living coverage.

Typically, if the earthquake causes multiple losses, you can file a single lawsuit. For example, if an earthquake affects your home’s electrical system and starts a small fire, you can file a lawsuit as the losses are related to it. Depending on the terms of your insurance policy, you may only have to pay a deductible.

If your earthquake and tenant insurance were bought from two different providers, you will likely need to make two separate claims. It is a good idea to check with your insurance company to understand the seismic claims filing protocol and how your tenants and earthquake coverage differ.

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What does earthquake insurance cost?

The cost of earthquake insurance varies. It depends on where you live, how much coverage you have, what deductible you have and which provider you choose. According to the CEA, earthquake coverage for California renters can cost as little as $ 35 per year. However, renters who are in close proximity to fault lines should expect the highest rates.

The good news is that earthquake insurance is much cheaper for renters than it is for homeowners. Since tenants do not own the building they live in, tenants’ earthquake insurance does not include home cover, which is a large part of the cost.

However, the earthquake insurance has a required deductible for tenants. The deductible is usually calculated as a percentage of the personal property coverage limit of the policy. According to the Insurance Information Institute (III), most earthquake insurance policies for renters include personal property coverage of up to $ 200,000. For example, if the deductible is 8% on $ 150,000, your deductible is $ 12,000.

When should I take out independent earthquake insurance?

Most earthquakes cause very little damage. But if a major earthquake hits your area and you don’t have cover, you’re financially on the hook for damage. The best time to get independent earthquake insurance is now. Earthquakes happen unexpectedly and you shouldn’t wait for an earthquake to buy a policy.

If your house or apartment does not meet local building codes, earthquake insurance is especially important. Homes that do not comply with building codes can be at greater risk of damage, especially if large items are not properly attached to walls and floors. Find out if your house or apartment complies with local earthquake regulations. If not, it is a good idea to get insurance.

Note that earthquake insurance only covers your personal effects and downtime if you have an active policy at the time of the earthquake. So if an earthquake happens and you buy a policy the next day, the policy does not cover the damage retrospectively. If you think your home is at risk, trust your intuition and invest in earthquake insurance.

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In response to the Covid-19 pandemic, many insurance companies granted relief in the form of percentages on monthly bills and a freeze on cancellations due to insolvency. While not recommended, you can technically adjust your coverage to save money when needed. Again, we strongly advise against it.

Below is how you can benefit from the recently approved Economic Relief Act:

Who can benefit from it?

To qualify for rental allowance under the CARES Act, at least one family member in the household must be unemployed or have a significant loss of income due to the pandemic. The income must be at or below 80% of the median income in your county. You must also be at risk of homelessness.

Who gets how much?

When families fall below 50% of median income, priority is given to rent relief funds. Families can receive rent for up to one year and rent relief assistance in three months in the future under the CARES Act.

How do I apply?

If you need to apply for assistance, the way you do it depends on where you live. If your city or town already has a rental assistance program in place, you will likely use it to apply for new assistance.

You can contact your local housing authority, nonprofit groups, or contact your local representatives to find out where and how to apply. Your landlord may also be able to apply for you – but they will need to get your consent and signature beforehand.


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