Does Home Insurance Cover an Earthquake?

Those who are not familiar with the Reno, Nevada area may think that the number one natural disaster facing the homeowners of Reno is drought. But those who live in or around Reno know that the real threat to their safety and to their property and homes is not drought but rather an earthquake.

When a person looks at the USGS fault map of Nevada, they will see that the entire Reno area is scared by faults; all of which have the potential to wreak havoc with little to no warning.  And over the past decade there have been multiple earthquakes in and around Reno ranging in magnitude from 1 to 6 on the Richter scale which has led many to ask the question “when is the big one coming?”

The exact timing of “the big one” becomes less important to those who are prepared, and one of the primary preparations for securing a home and its assets is to have a quality home insurance policy.  But does a standard homeowner’s policy cover damage from an earthquake?

Unfortunately, typically they do not; which means that those homeowners in the Reno area who wish to be fully covered from the damages of an earthquake will need to purchase a supplementary plan or shop around for a policy that includes earthquakes in its coverage.  The exact cost of this additional coverage depends on a few different factors including:

  • The cost of the home
  • The age of the home
  • The construction materials used (brick, for example, will cost more to insure than a framed house)
  • The location of the home (although earthquake coverage costs more in any state with known fault lines no matter how close or how far the home is from said faults)

Luckily, there is another option for homeowners or renters in the Reno area who do not wish to spend for the high costs of complete earthquake coverage.  Personal articles (such as valuables and other assets in the home) can be protected for cheaper with a specific coverage option called a “personal articles floater” and this may be the best option for those who wish to protect specific items from earthquake damage.

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