Do I Need Earthquake Insurance in California?

Though earthquake insurance isn’t required in California, it’s a fantastic way to protect both your home and your peace of mind.
Written by Samuel Todd
Reviewed by Melanie Reiff
Updated on Apr 11, 2022
Earthquake insurance isn’t required in California, but it can be a great investment in your peace of mind—especially if you live near a fault line.
From the rolling Hollywood hills to Napa Valley wine country,
is known for many fantastic things. Hidden beneath the picturesque scenery, though, shifting tectonic plates cause 10,000 earthquakes in California each year
Sure, only a few hundred of those are strong enough to be felt by Californians—but that’s enough to make most homeowners uneasy! Here to tackle the ins and outs of
earthquake insurance
is top-rated
super app
. We’ll hit on all the key points: what’s covered and what’s not, how much it might cost, and whether earthquake insurance is really worth it in California.
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How common are earthquakes in California?

California gets more earthquakes than every state but
—and 8 of the 10 most damaging earthquakes in the last century happened in the Golden State. If you live in Cali, there’s a good chance that you’re near an earthquake at this very moment!
When most people think of getting earthquake insurance, though, they aren’t super worried about the day-to-day mini-quakes. So, how much damage can the serious California quakes do? Here’s a look at a few of them:
Feb. 9, 1971
San Fernando
$505 million
Oct. 17, 1989
Bay Area
$10 billion
Jan. 17, 1994
$40 billion
What’s more, the
U.S. Geological Survey
gives a 72% chance that a strong earthquake will hit San Francisco in the next 30 years (60%for LA!). If that number makes you feel a little queasy, investing in earthquake insurance might help to calm your nerves and make you feel confident about your new California home.

What is earthquake insurance?

Simply put, earthquake insurance is a type of homeowner’s insurance that pays for damage to your home that was caused by an earthquake.It’s not included in typical home insurance policies, so you’ll have to add it to your existing coverage to make sure that you’re protected.
Earthquake insurance comes in three parts:
  • Dwelling coverage: This money goes towards repairing your home. It also comes with a deductible, which is a percentage of the coverage that you’ll have to pay. So, let’s say you have an insurance policy with a $200,000 coverage limit and a 10% deductible. If a tornado caused $200,000 of damage to your house, you would have to pay $20,000 (10%), and your insurer would be on the hook for the rest.
  • Personal property coverage: This money protects the things in your home. TVs, bookshelves, furniture—even breakables like crystals and china, if you add an extra policy! You can buy anywhere between $5,000 and $200,000 of this coverage.
  • Additional living expenses: This money helps you after an earthquake. If you need to rent a place while your home is being repaired—or if you need cash for food, laundry, storage, and other essentials—you’ll be covered. Plus, you won’t have to worry about a deductible, and you can get up to $100,000 of protection.

Is earthquake insurance required in California?

Earthquake insurance is not required in California, but it’s not a bad idea to have it! Though earthquakes are common throughout the state, only 13% of Californians are protected against them.
If you want to stay ahead of the curve, consider adding earthquake insurance through the
California Earthquake Authority

How much does earthquake insurance cost in California?

On average, earthquake insurance in California will set you back $3.54 per $1,000 of coverage. That number’s a bit tricky, so let’s check out some examples:
  • A $300,000 home would cost $1,062 to insure per year
  • A $500,000 home would cost $1,770 to insure per year
  • An $800,000 home would cost $2,832 to insure per year
Okay, that’s a good ballpark estimate—but how much will it cost for your home?
The exact cost will depend on the type of coverage you get, where you live, and which insurer you choose. Deluxe coverage for a million-dollar mansion that’s in an
earthquake hotspot
will cost a lot more than baseline coverage for an affordable condo.
The California Earthquake Authority has a useful
premium calculator
so that you know what to expect.

Is earthquake insurance worth it in California?

At the end of the day, we recommend getting earthquake insurance in California. A few hundred dollars on your premium each month can be a heavy burden, but,
as the LA Times points out
, it’s nothing compared to the catastrophic damage that would come with a serious earthquake. 
Of course, each person is different and each home is different! So, if you’re still on the fence about getting coverage, the U.S. Geological Survey encourages you to consider these factors
  • How close you are to active faults
  • How frequent earthquakes are in your area
  • Your home’s layout and materials
  • The type of soil your home is sitting on
  • How much rainfall you get
  • The value of your home
If you want to hedge your bets a little bit, think about getting a modest amount of earthquake insurance—that is, more than a few thousand dollars, but not as much as your entire home is worth. That way, you’re covered against moderately damaging quakes, but you won’t be weighed down by a massive monthly payment.
Key Takeaway Earthquake insurance is a great investment, both to protect your home and to give you peace of mind.

How to save money on home and car insurance

Most people know that you can save on insurance by bundling your home and auto policies. But, with hundreds of insurers competing for your business, where should you even begin?
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Once you’ve found your favorite insurance policy, we’ll help you switch over to it, and you’re on your way to serious savings. After all, the average Jerry user saves $887 on car insurance—and bundling your home and auto together could save you a heck of a lot more than that!
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