The standard homeowner’s insurance policy does not include coverage in the case of an earthquake. There is no way to accurately predict when and where an earthquake might occur, so it is important as a property owner/renter to be proactive with an action plan as well as an earthquake insurance policy. The separate endorsement of earthquake insurance can either be supplemented onto your homeowner/renter insurance policy or purchased in the form of a stand-alone policy.
The U.S. Geological Survey reveals that 75 million Americans in 39 states are at significant risk from earthquakes. According to the U.S. Geological Survey, from the years 2002 to 2012, there were earthquakes of 4.0 magnitudes or greater documented in 23 U.S. states.
When it comes to such a state of emergency such as an earthquake, there can be a number of uncertainties and questions. The safety of you and your family is of the upmost priority and there can be instances in which authorities may mandate an evacuation for your area. If you do have an earthquake insurance policy, you are covered for out of home expenses, reasonably including food and lodging for two weeks following the event of evacuation. Keeping proper documentation of these expenses is imperative. This coverage is generally not available if you do not have earthquake insurance coverage.
If you unfortunately do not have earthquake insurance coverage, it is still highly advised that you report the claim to your insurance provider. While some damage can be as a direct result of the earthquake, there is possibility that some peril can be accounted for by other natural disasters that you are in fact covered for, such as flood or fire. Inspection on behalf of an adjuster will reveal exact cause of damage.
As with any instance in which there is damage to your property, there are certain precautions one can take to prevent further damage to ensure the upmost coverage. Utilizing products such as plywood and tarp can aid in makeshift repairs to defer any further damage. Proper documentation in terms of receipts and photographs of the damage are influential in ultimate coverage as well. Also, make record of conversations with your insurance agent and ensure acquisition of a Proof of Loss form from your agent or adjuster.
Distinct to earthquake insurance, policies are usually not available for purchase for a period immediately following an earthquake, highly accredited to aftershock. Today, earthquake damage is typically assessed through Damage Ratio, an estimate of damage vs. total value of property or through the use of HAZUS, a computerized analysis that provides loss estimation.
Your earthquake insurance policy may cover damages such as settlements, landslides, mudflows, contraction of the earth, etc. but again, it is pertinent that as a property owner/renter, you are completely aware of what your insurance policy exactly entails. Rates vary depending on location and vulnerability level, but typically, earthquake insurance contains high deductibles due to the frequency with which property is completely demolished versus partial damage to the property.
Merlin Law Group fights on behalf of the insurance policyholder. If you believe that your insurance company has wrongfully undervalued, delayed or denied your insurance claim, please contact the attorneys at the Merlin Law Group for a consultation free of charge, today.