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Earthquakes aren't uncommon in many parts of the United States. And yet, homeowners often lack coverage when disaster strikes. This is because most homeowners insurance policies do not cover earthquake damage. Unlike flood insurance, earthquake insurance isn’t mandated by mortgage companies, even in high-risk areas like California. So, it’s up to you to determine if you should spend the extra money to protect your home and its contents from an earthquake.
When most people think of earthquakes, they think of California. Yet, only 10% of Californians carry earthquake insurance to protect their home in the event of this type of natural disaster. And that’s just one state. Every month, we see headlines about earthquakes happening in Idaho, Washington, Oregon, or even Tennessee. Americans who want to protect against these devastating events can purchase separate earthquake insurance policies, also known as riders or endorsements to existing homeowners insurance policies.
To help you decide where to find coverage, we reviewed the top earthquake insurance companies based on their financial strength, customer service, and overall product offerings. We considered companies that write separate earthquake policies as well as those that offer riders and endorsements that can be added to existing homeowner coverage.
The 7 Best Earthquake Insurance Providers of 2020
Best Overall: Allstate
Accredited by the Better Business Bureau with an A- rating, Allstate has been in business since 1931 and serves all 50 states with home, life, auto, flood, and earthquake insurance. The company has an AM Best rating of A+, demonstrating financial stability to get through difficult times. In California, Allstate writes coverage through the California Earthquake Authority (CEA), but provides earthquake coverage in other regions, too.
One of the benefits to Allstate is the ability to put all your insurance, including home, auto insurance, umbrella insurance, and flood insurance, under one company, giving you a single point of contact. You’ll also enjoy multi-policy discounts if you write home, auto, and earthquake insurance with Allstate. Allstate offers other discounts, including claim-free discounts, a customer loyalty discount, and a discount for retired seniors who are 55 or older.
Allstate has a robust online presence, giving you the ability to manage your policy, pay your bill, make claims, or get a free quote online 24/7. If you prefer to make a claim by phone, the company offers 24/7 live customer service. Coverage levels are comparable to competitors, with maximum coverage up to $500,000.
Allstate's online presence, in addition to its multi-policy bundling discounts, are why we chose it as the best overall option for earthquake insurance.
Best Overall (Runner-Up): State Farm
State Farm is known for its better-than-average customer service and provides coverage through a nationwide network of agents. Its earthquake coverage offers protection for property damage and damage to the contents of your home, personal injury, debris removal, and broken glass clean-up. CEA coverage is available for residents of California, but policies are available for residents of other states as well.
In business since 1922, State Farm has an A+ rating from the Better Business Bureau but is not accredited by the organization. It has an AM Best rating of A+, signifying its financial stability and ability to pay claims.
State Farm offers multi-line discounts for customers who bundle their home, earthquake, and auto insurance. It also provides a loyalty discount for long-standing customers. If you also have your home insurance with State Farm, you may receive a discount if you’ve gone claim-free for at least five years, with the discount increasing (up to a point) for every year after that.
These discounts, plus State Farm's nationwide network of agents, are why we chose State Farm as our runner-up.
Best for Added Coverage: Amica Mutual
Amica Mutual is one of the best-known insurance companies providing home, auto, and life insurance to individuals in select states, including California. Unlike many other insurance companies, Amica offers earthquake insurance as an endorsement to a homeowners insurance policy. If you purchase the company’s “Catastrophic coverage” upgrade, you can make claims for property damage caused by earthquakes or floods. However, this does not include the other coverage commonly offered as part of earthquake insurance, coverage for your belongings, or additional living expenses you may have to pay if you can’t live in your home due to earthquake damage.
Amica’s customer service and overall customer satisfaction are highly rated by J.D. Power & Associates. The company also has an AM Best rating of A+ for financial strength. If you live in California, you can write your Amica Mutual earthquake insurance policy through the California Earthquake Authority (CEA) for full coverage. The strength of Amica's earthquake endorsement and the company's high ratings for customer service are why we chose it as the best for additional coverage.
Best for Customer Service: Farmers
Farmers Insurance achieved a 5/5 rating by ConsumersAdvocate.org, a 3.9-star rating from Consumer Affairs, and has been accredited by the Better Business Bureau since 1951, currently holding an A+ rating. In business since 1928, the company has an AM Best rating of B++ (Good), showing that it is financially stable and able to pay claims.
The company does not offer a claim-free discount for home or earthquake insurance, but it does offer a multi-line discount and bundling discounts if you also purchase home and auto insurance. You may also be able to save money on your earthquake policy by increasing your deductible; just make sure you can cover the cost of your deductible if you need to make a claim.
The Farmers website makes it easy to adjust your coverage levels, file and track claims, and make payments online. If you prefer, you can file a claim by phone, with representatives standing by 24/7. Farmers is also renowned for its disaster claims service and may dispatch its Mobile Claims Center to your community if you experience an earthquake. These are the reasons we chose it as our best option for customer service.
Best for High-Value Homes: PURE Insurance
PURE Insurance, in business since 2007, is best known for insuring high-value homes and vehicles, as well as providing umbrella policies for high-net-worth individuals. PURE writes 46% of the earthquake insurance policies in California through the CEA. Renowned for concierge-level service, PURE was named Best High Net Worth Insurance Company in 2019 for the second year running in the Private Asset Management Awards.
PURE provides more than just insurance coverage; it partners with its members to provide exemplary, personalized service and a host of resources on its website. PURE Member Advocates help you find the resources you need to rebuild or repair your home or replace your belongings if you have to make a claim. The PURE Situation Room keeps members apprised of ever-changing situations that may require action, including impending or recent natural disasters.
PURE has an AM Best rating of A-. It is not BBB-accredited but does have an A+ rating with the organization for its stellar customer service.
PURE also provides “excess and surplus” lines for homeowners in high-risk areas, who may find it harder to get coverage elsewhere.
PURE's concierge-level service, plus the company's stellar ratings for customer service (especially among affluent clients) are why we chose it as the best option for high-value homes.
Best for Bundling for Discounts: American Family Insurance
American Family Mutual Insurance Company, formerly American Family Auto Insurance, offers a full range of insurance coverage, including home insurance policies and earthquake insurance, as well as retirement savings accounts and other financial services. If you’re looking for one company to manage all your insurance and investments, American Family is worth a look.
American Family has an A rating from AM Best and an A-rating from the BBB, although it is not accredited.
You can add an earthquake coverage rider to your AmFam home insurance policy. At the most basic level, you can get coverage to rebuild or repair your home and other dwellings following an earthquake, coverage to replace your home’s contents damaged in a quake, as well as reimbursement for additional living expenses you may accrue if your home is unlivable for a period of time.
You can also save up to 20% on home insurance and up to 29% on your auto policy if you bundle your insurance with American Family. These substantial discounts are why we chose AmFam as the best for bundling.
The company covers 19 states including earthquake-prone areas like Nevada, Washington, and Utah.
Best for California Residents: California Earthquake Authority
The California Earthquake Authority is a privately funded, publicly managed organization that’s not like other earthquake insurance carriers. It holds 23.8% (the majority) of the market share for all earthquake insurance in California and focuses exclusively on earthquake insurance. The company insures nearly 1.2 million California homes as of 2020.
It is important to understand the CEA is not a direct insurance provider. It writes policies through top companies like Allstate, Amica Mutual Insurance Company, Farmers Insurance Group, and others. CEA may be able to negotiate a better deal for California residents, and you’ll gain access to CEA’s personalized service and wealth of resources. This is why we chose it as the best for California residents.
CEA works with organizations like the California Office of Emergency Services, the Earthquake Country Alliance, and the American Red Cross to provide resources and assistance to Californians, raise awareness of earthquake risk, and help California residents prepare for the next big quake.
CEA offers premium discounts for homes and mobile homes that have undergone a seismic retrofit to be more resistant to earthquakes. The organization has an AM Best rating of A-, which is a testament to its financial stability.
What Is Earthquake Insurance?
Most homeowners insurance policies do not cover damage from earthquakes. That’s why it’s important for homeowners in high-risk areas to invest in a separate earthquake insurance policy or to purchase a rider or endorsement to their home insurance to cover this very specific risk.
Like homeowners insurance, most earthquake insurance policies cover three areas:
- Damage to your home and other dwellings on the property
- Damage to your home’s contents
- Additional living expenses or costs you may incur if you have to live away from home while earthquake damage is repaired
You can reduce the overall cost of your earthquake insurance by reducing your coverage levels or increasing your deductible, but you’ll want to make sure you can cover the deductible in case your home faces catastrophic damage after an earthquake.
In the state of California, the CEA writes most earthquake insurance policies through top-rated carriers like those on our list. You can also purchase a policy directly through most insurers or add a rider to your existing home insurance policy to give you the earthquake coverage you need.
How We Chose the Best Earthquake Insurance
To choose the best earthquake insurance companies, we looked at more than a dozen insurers nationwide. To narrow down our list, we considered insurance providers’ financial stability, online consumer reviews, and the depth and breadth of their coverage. Each company’s overall reputation for home insurance and the quality of their claims service also factored into our rankings.