December 31, 2015 4:05 am
Updated: December 31, 2015 5:05 am

What you need to know about earthquake insurance

WATCH: Does your home insurance include earthquake coverage? Consumer Matters reporter Anne Drewa has more on how much it costs and what it covers.


Tuesday’s earthquake has many people thinking about making preparations for a large quake that could hit B.C.’s south coast. That could include earthquake insurance.

Coverage for earthquake damage is typically not included in a standard home insurance policy, but it can be added on to existing coverage.

Story continues below

It generally covers loss or damage to a policyholder’s home and belongings caused by the actual shaking of the earth. Consumers will want to consider earthquake coverage if they own a home or condo or if they rent. Regardless of where they live, they will be covered for additional living expenses should their home be damaged or if it’s so damaged they can’t live in their house while it’s being repaired.

Earthquake preparedness: Do you have the essentials in your emergency kit?

Where it gets complicated is when there is fire or water damage following an earthquake. It’s best for policyholders to contact their insurance provider for clarification as policies can vary.

“It comes down to being protected for the damage to your physical home in the event of the shaking,” BCAA’s Brooke Moss said. “That damage can range from a few thousand [dollars] to complete structural damage that the city requires you to fully replace your home. You wouldn’t be able to do that. Your regular insurance policy wouldn’t cover that.”

The cost of adding earthquake coverage to a home insurance policy will usually increase the annual premium by an additional 30 to 50 per cent depending on where you live. The risk level of where you live will determine what deductible you will be eligible for.

– With files from Anne Drewa

© 2015 Shaw Media

Report an error


Want to discuss? Please read our Commenting Policy first.