Many residents of the West Coast of the United States have felt the roar of earthquakes and aftershocks in their lifetimes. According to the 2014 U.S. Geological Survey, Oregon is one of her 16 states with the highest risk from seismic activity.
Oregon homeowners have insurance to protect their home and property, so you can rest easy knowing that earthquakes are covered by standard insurance. Some home insurance offers additional protection, but this doesn’t come automatically and earthquake protection usually comes at an extra premium.
Why Oregon Homeowners Need Earthquake Insurance
Earthquake insurance covers direct physical damage to buildings and private property caused by earthquakes. Erosion, landslides, tsunamis and volcanic eruptions are not covered, even if they are caused by earthquakes or aftershocks.
Between 2010 and 2015, Oregon experienced an average of 2.8 earthquakes of at least magnitude 3 per year. An earthquake can cause a lot of damage to your home and may even require reconstruction that is usually not covered by regular homeowners insurance.
Reasons for needing earthquake insurance for each house
How close you are to the many fault lines that cut across Oregon and how your home is built are important factors to consider when deciding whether earthquake insurance is worth the expense.
The U.S. Geological Survey’s interactive fault map shows all known and documented faults within the borders of Oregon. Even if you are far from home at the moment, new flaws are still being discovered that could affect your home in the future.
Some houses are better built than others and can withstand larger earthquakes. In 2012, due to increased seismic activity around the world, Oregon introduced stricter building codes for new homes and buildings.
Older homes, high-rise homes, framed homes, and homes with limited space are most at risk of severe and catastrophic damage when a major earthquake hits Oregon. Brick and masonry houses have been shown to withstand the effects of earthquakes better.
Other Reasons You Need Earthquake Insurance
Earthquake insurance is a good investment if:
- Homes cannot be repaired or rebuilt after an earthquake.
- No extra money to cover living expenses elsewhere while the house is being rebuilt.
- In addition to the remaining home loan that we cannot repay, there are the costs of rebuilding the house and living elsewhere until construction is complete.
- You live in one of the most seismically active regions of Oregon.
- You live near a disturbance.
- You live in an old building or half-timbered house.
Where can I get Oregon earthquake insurance?
The first place to look for earthquake insurance in Oregon is a current insurance company that handles condo, homeowner, or renter insurance policies. You can add coverage to your existing policy or purchase another policy like flood insurance.
If your current insurance company doesn’t offer earthquake insurance, you should start looking for an offer. In Oregon, Arrowhead and GeoVera specialize in earthquake insurance. Many other insurance companies that create policies for homeowners in Oregon also offer earthquake insurance options.
If you’re not sure whether or not to get earthquake insurance for your home in Oregon, be aware that most insurance companies have stopped or suspended issuing earthquake insurance after a major earthquake hits. We recommend that you obtain the policy before an earthquake occurs. This will cover the waiting time for the insurance to apply and for the insurance to start.
Oregon earthquake insurance cost
The cost of earthquake insurance in Oregon varies, but a 2009 study in Portland found that a log home with $300,000 construction and $150,000 property coverage costs $150 million annually. It turned out to be between $200 and $300. These costs can be higher today, as home insurance premiums are often based on current construction costs. Prices can also be higher if the house is masonry or brick.
If you have multiple earthquake insurance options, you can get multiple quotes and compare coverage options, deductibles and costs to find the best home insurance policy.
The damage an earthquake can do to your home can be devastating. Earthquake insurance covers the additional costs of rebuilding or repairing your home, replacing your belongings, and becoming uninhabitable during repairs.
Technology has allowed us to predict earthquakes many times before they hit, but we don’t have enough time to buy earthquake insurance to protect our homes. You should weigh the pros and cons of earthquake insurance to determine if this is the right option for you.
Frequently Asked Questions
Where is the best home insurance?
Finding the best home insurance depends on your budget and coverage needs. If you are considering purchasing earthquake insurance, check to see if there are additional coverage options or if your company offers separate insurance. We encourage you to research and compare offers before purchasing an insurance policy.
What is the Oregon Earthquake Deductible?
Even if standard home insurance has additional coverage, earthquake insurance usually has a separate deductible. In Oregon, expect a 10% to 15% deductible. This is a percentage of the compensation amount, not the amount of damage. For example, if your homeowners insurance is $150,000 and your deductible is $10,000, you are responsible for paying the first $15,000 before the insurance company pays.
How much should I buy for earthquake insurance?
If you are looking to insure your home in the event of a total loss, it is usually recommended that you have sufficient coverage to replace the full value of your home as stated on your home insurance policy. If you want to insure your property, consider how much coverage you’ll need if your home is destroyed in an earthquake. Please consult your licensed insurance agent to determine the amount of insurance you need.