When it comes to earthquakes, the short answer is no.
Having homeowner’s or renter’s insurance does not automatically mean you’re covered for earthquakes — you need a separate policy for that. In California, the company providing your homeowner’s insurance must offer to sell you separate earthquake insurance.
But in some cases, it says, homeowner’s or renter’s insurance may cover direct loss caused by explosion, theft or breaking glass following an earthquake — even without earthquake insurance. “Read your homeowner’s policy and contact your insurance company whenever an earthquake damages your property. Do not assume that the damage is not covered,” the department of insurance says.
Earthquake insurance will replace all my stuff, right?
While the goal is to provide some relief, it’s not meant to bring you back to your pre-earthquake days, officials say.
And earthquake insurance usually does not cover anything already included in your homeowner’s policy.
Earthquake insurance does not cover damage to your vehicles either — that may be covered by your auto policy. Neither does it cover water damage from outside your home after an earthquake, including sewer, drain back-up and flooding, among others.
What if a fire is caused by an earthquake?
In this case, there’s more flexibility.
Under state law, fire damage is covered by both homeowner’s and renter’s insurance whether you have earthquake insurance or not.
Where can I buy an earthquake policy?
Before you get an earthquake policy, you must have a residential property insurance policy.
The California Earthquake Authority offers most earthquake policies for homeowners and renters. But you don’t buy earthquake insurance directly from that state agency — you have to get it from insurance companies that are members of CEA.