Does auto insurance cover earthquake damage?

You'll need comprehensive coverage before you can claim any earthquake losses. Average rates for comprehensive coverage in 2015 were $148.04.

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Leslie Kasperowicz holds a BA in Social Sciences from the University of Winnipeg. She spent several years as a Farmers Insurance CSR, gaining a solid understanding of insurance products including home, life, auto, and commercial and working directly with insurance customers to understand their needs. She has since used that knowledge in her more than ten years as a writer, largely in the insuranc...

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Dan Walker graduated with a BS in Administrative Management in 2005 and has been working in his family’s insurance agency, FCI Agency, for 15 years (BBB A+). He is licensed as an agent to write property and casualty insurance, including home, auto, umbrella, and dwelling fire insurance. He’s also been featured on sites like Reviews.com and Safeco. He reviews content, ensuring that ex...

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Reviewed by Daniel Walker
Licensed Auto Insurance Agent

UPDATED: Jul 16, 2021

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Things to remember...

  • When your vehicle is damaged due to an earthquake, your auto insurance may help you recover from your loss
  • Before your auto insurance can protect against earthquake-related losses, you will need to select the correct coverage option
  • You will need to carry comprehensive coverage on your policy before you can claim any earthquake losses on your policy.
  • This coverage choice traditionally has a deductible, which is the amount of a loss you are required to cover
  • If you have concerns or questions about coverage, speak with your insurance provider about this loss scenario and how your coverage applies

When your vehicle is damaged by an earthquake, it is just one of the natural disaster losses that you may be covered for under your insurance policy.

These types of losses can be devastating, especially when there is no time to plan ahead. Earthquakes can create dangerous driving conditions in addition to the damage it can cause to your car; this can occur regardless of where your car is stored.

Before an earthquake occurs, make sure your policy protects you from these types of losses so you can plan ahead accordingly.

Compare car insurance rates to find the best value for the coverage you desire.

Your Policy Coverage and Earthquake Losses

Losses or damages that are caused by an earthquake are traditionally covered under the comprehensive coverage option, which is an option you may choose to carry on your policy.

You may select comprehensive coverage when you first purchase your policy, or you may choose to add it at a later time. This coverage option is also referred to as “other-than-collision” coverage, as this coverage does not apply to damages caused by a collision.

Weather-related losses, such as those caused by earthquakes, fall under the umbrella of losses covered under comprehensive coverage; other weather-related losses will also fall under this coverage option.

Before making your policy purchase, it’s important to understand what your policy protects you from.

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Requirements and Coverage Conditions On Your Policy

Your auto insurance is a combination of coverage choices, conditions, and exclusions that can affect how your coverage applies. One such condition is the insurance deductible, which is often included with comprehensive coverage.

Your insurance deductible is a predefined portion of your loss that you accept. The deductible reduces the burden placed on your insurance provider.

There are often compulsory insurance requirements, sometimes called minimum levels of coverage, which you need to carry. Remember that these limits may not protect you from earthquake-related losses.

There may also be specific conditions for claiming earthquake losses, since these events may affect large numbers of people at once.

Make sure to speak to your provider about how your insurance protects you from these types of losses; ask how claims are handled as well. It’s important to understand this information before a loss event occurs.

They may help you better understand how your policy applies as well as which coverage options to select to protect you from earthquake losses.

Claiming Earthquakes Losses on Your Insurance Policy

Carrying the proper protection for earthquake losses does not mean you need to file a claim whenever a loss occurs; there are instances where your best choice may be to handle the repairs yourself.

Earthquake-related loss events are normally unexpected, which means you may immediately attempt to file a claim. However, before proceeding with your claim, make sure you know the following:

  • how your policy works
  • any deductible that applies
  • any exclusions that may apply

Before filing your claim, take some time to document any damage to your vehicle and mitigate any further damages; this documentation should be completed if safe to do so.

Your insurance provider may have requirements about documentation, so you may want to contact them to see what needs to be captured. Additionally, they may have stipulations regarding loss mitigation steps that you can complete, so speak to them ahead of time.

Once you’ve taken some steps to document your damages, contact your insurance carrier to discuss the claim process and how filing a claim affects your policy.

There are potential negatives, such as premium increases or non-renewal of your policy, so you should understand what may occur before proceeding.

Filing a claim is an excellent time to see how your provider handles the claim process; a poor experience may mean it’s time to search for a new insurance carrier.

Poor customer service, a complicated claim process, or even adverse effects for filing a claim may all be factors. You can contact other providers to get coverage quotes as well as to ask about their claim handling process to determine if you want to make a switch.

Conclusion

Earthquakes are a natural disaster that can occur at different times, even when you attempt to plan ahead and protect your vehicle. This means you should attempt to be prepared for any loss, including natural disasters before a loss occurs.

Review your policy coverage and conditions annually to review your selections and make any changes or updates as necessary.

Remember that different insurance providers have different terms and conditions about offering coverage in proximity to an event.

You may not be able to purchase coverage when an earthquake is predicted or imminent. Be sure to check with your provider about any conditions of this nature.

If your car is damaged due to an earthquake, remember to contact your insurance carrier as soon as possible and mitigate further damage, as necessary. You may need to consider moving your car someplace else, to a safer location, which can help you lower your overall loss.

You may also want to talk to your insurance provider about reasonable and necessary steps you should take due to these types of losses.

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