Many people who live on the West Coast have experienced the aftershocks and rumbles from earthquakes during their lives. A 2014 U.S. Geological Survey report shows that Oregon is among 16 states at highest risk of earthquakes.
Oregon homeowners may believe that earthquakes are covered by their standard insurance policy if they have insurance to protect their home and belongings. Although some homeowners insurance policies provide earthquake protection, this is usually an add-on policy.
Oregon homeowners may need earthquake insurance
Earthquake Insurance covers any direct loss to your home or personal property that is caused by an earthquake. This insurance does not cover erosion, landslides or tsunami, regardless of whether they are caused by an earthquake, aftershock, or other natural disasters.
Between 2010 and 2015, Oregon saw an average number of 2.8 earthquakes per calendar year with a magnitude 3 or greater. Klamath Falls and the Portland metro have the highest levels of seismic activity. This makes them highly vulnerable to earthquake damage. Earthquakes can cause severe damage to your home or even complete destruction. This will require you to rebuild it.
You might need earthquake insurance for reasons specific to your home
When deciding whether earthquake insurance is worth it, consider how close your home is to one of the fault lines that run through Oregon.
The interactive fault line map by the United States Geological Survey displays all known fault lines within Oregon. Even if your home isn’t on the list of potential fault lines, new ones are being discovered.
Certain homes are more resilient to earthquakes than others. In 2012, Oregon implemented stricter building code requirements to all new homes and buildings due to increasing seismic activity. Certain homes were retrofitted to comply with the new standards. New construction must also conform when it is built.
If an earthquake of large magnitude shakes Oregon, older homes, multi-level homes and homes constructed with wood frames and crawl spaces are most at risk. Brick and masonry homes are more resilient to earthquake shock than masonry.
There are other reasons why an individual might need earthquake insurance
- After an earthquake, you can’t afford to rebuild or repair your home.
- It is not possible to afford living expenses while your home is being rebuilt.
- You have a mortgage on your house and cannot pay it off.
- You are in the area of Oregon that has the highest seismic activity.
- Living close to a faultline is dangerous.
- You may live in an older home or one with frame construction.
Oregon earthquake insurance: Where can I get it?
Your current insurance company handles your condo, homeowners and renters insurance policies. This is the best place to start looking for earthquake insurance coverage. You might be able to purchase additional coverage or add coverage to your existing policy, as with flood insurance.
You can shop around for quotes if your current insurance company doesn’t offer earthquake coverage. Arrowhead, GeoVera are experts in earthquake insurance in Oregon. Other insurance companies that offer earthquake insurance in Oregon can also underwrite homeowner policies.
If you are unsure whether to purchase earthquake insurance for your Oregon home, keep in mind that most insurance companies will prohibit the purchase of earthquake insurance after any major seismic event. You should purchase your policy before an earthquake occurs to ensure you are covered.
Oregon earthquake insurance costs
Although the cost of earthquake insurance in Oregon is variable, a 2009 survey found that the annual cost of insuring a wood-frame home with $300,000 in building coverage and $150,000 personal property coverage was $200 to $300. These premiums will be higher because they are based on current construction costs. The price could be higher if your home is made of brick or masonry.
You may need to compare earthquake insurance options and deductibles. This is just like getting multiple quotes to find the best homeowners insurance.
Your home could be damaged by an earthquake. Earthquake insurance covers the cost of rebuilding or repairing your home, replacing personal property, and other living expenses if your home is damaged.
Technology has made it possible to predict earthquakes before they occur, but this doesn’t mean that you have enough time to buy earthquake insurance to protect your home. To decide if earthquake insurance is right for you, you need to weigh the pros and the cons.
Questions frequently asked
Which is the best company for home insurance?
The best homeowners insurance company depends on your needs and budget. Ask if you can add on coverage to your earthquake insurance or if it is a standalone policy. Before purchasing any insurance policy, it is a good idea compare quotes and shop around.
What is Oregon’s earthquake deductible?
You will need to pay a separate deductible for earthquake coverage, even if you have standard home insurance. In Oregon expect adeductible of 10% to 15%. This is not a loss, but a percentage of your coverage. If your dwelling coverage is $150,000, and you have a $10,000deductible, the insurance company will only pay the first $15,000 of the $150,000.
What amount of earthquake insurance should you get?
It’s best to have enough coverage to cover your entire home in the event of a total loss. This can be done through your homeowners policy. Consider how much coverage you’ll need to replace your belongings if your home is destroyed by an earthquake. Talk to an insurance agent licensed to help you determine the right amount of insurance.