Earthquakes are a prevalent and constant looming threat for those who live on the west coast of the Americas. You can’t exactly hide from the ground shaking and with BC so close to a fault line it’s only a matter of when the next time a large earthquake strikes the province.
So what even is earthquake insurance? What does it protect, when does it kick in? What does it cover? And the most important thing, how much does it cost? All of these questions will be answered to ease any worries about the next shakeup.
Earthquake insurance is like most other types of property insurance where a certain dollar total of damages will be covered by an insurance company (Such as us). Typically most standard homeowners policies do not cover earthquakes but allow you to add optional coverage.
Earthquake insurance typically covers damages and losses that occurred by the physical act of the tremor/quake.
These can all be covered depending on what your insurance providers offer and how much you’re willing to pay in premiums.
Depending on your Insurance, damages and/or losses from disasters caused by a quake can be covered. Secondary disasters such as:
or other types of earth/water movement caused by a quake may be covered within a certain time period. Your insurance policy will often have a direct specification of what is considered an earthquake as well as cover disasters that are a direct result of the quake (e.g. a landslide).
As a preface to those who don’t know, a deductible is the amount of money you pay out of pocket for a claim. For example, if there is $10,000 in damages and your deductible is 10%, you pay $1,000 while the insurance company pays the remaining $9,000. Insurance jargon in general can be pretty confusing, if you’d like to know more check out our other article on the subject [link].
Back to the matter at hand, you’ll find that Earthquake insurance has an average deductible of 3 to 20%. Depending on where you live will depend on how much you pay. More on that in the next section. If you want to know more about other related search terms in the Insurance industry.
BC is a perfect storm of potential earthquake activity. It sits directly on three tectonic plates; the Pacific Plate, the Juan de Fuca Plate, and the North American Plate. ‘Now what is a tectonic plate?’ you’re probably thinking to yourself. Well, tectonic plates are huge pieces of the Earth’s crust that altogether make up our “lithosphere,” aka the Earth just beneath our feet.
As you can see in the photo above our planet is split up into a multitude of a large number of plates all pushing and pulling against each other like unruly kids in a four-hour car ride. Unfortunately for us, these fidgety plates occasionally get stuck on each other, however, that doesn’t stop them from still trying to move. At some point as the energy builds up, something's got to give, and one of the plates will quickly move, causing an earthquake. Think of it as trying to pull two puzzle pieces apart by moving them horizontally rather than vertically.
Unfortunately for those who live in BC and Washington State, we are sandwiched between the North American Plate, Juan de Fuca Plate, and Pacific plate. These plates constantly rubbing against each other has the potentiality for a disastrous earthquake. Areas such as Richmond and Delta are especially vulnerable as their foundation is mainly softer soils. Great for agriculture, not so good for 9.0 earthquakes.
So in the end is the money worth it? Well, risk experts think so. Due to the availability of private insurance, the provincial government will not pay out for damages in the event of damage sustained from a quake.
Unless your home is top of the line with earthquake damage prevention systems in place, it is a very good idea to purchase earthquake insurance. Clearing the rubble of your old home and building a new one isn’t cheap.
With tectonic plates constantly moving, it’s simply a matter of if, not when. While this all seems very concerning, at least on the bright side, all of our local volcanoes are dormant.
No one knows when the big one will happen, it could be in the next 5 minutes or the next 500 years. If you don’t have earthquake insurance at the moment it is a very good idea to start looking into it; check with BlueCouch to see if you’ll be saving more with our Earthquake policy than your current provider. With BlueCouch, all you need is 90 seconds.