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Do I Need Earthquake Insurance in Arizona?

Earthquakes occur when a sudden release of energy from a moving tectonic plate causes seismic waves that shake the ground. Earthquakes can cause extreme damage, taking lives and destroying homes. Hundreds of people have suffered property damage from earthquakes over the years in Arizona. Statistics show that the State of Arizona has experienced three or more earthquakes every year for the last six years, with a whopping 31 earthquakes in 2014. While this isn’t as many as some states experience, it’s enough to cause concern among homeowners.

Earthquake Damage in Arizona

Arizona does not see the type of catastrophic earthquakes that other parts of the world do. Still, higher magnitude earthquakes have struck the state and caused moderate damage in the past. In 2014, a magnitude 5.3 earthquake occurred near Duncan, Arizona. The shaking from this earthquake was strong enough in southeastern AZ to cause cracks in concrete home foundations and structures. The quake displaced several mobile homes, and caused property damage like broken windows and dishes. Additional damage occurred during the 156 aftershocks from the earthquake.

Homeowners in Arizona should certainly consider earthquake insurance. These natural disasters have occurred in the state, and will continue to do so in the future. Even if the odds of property damage are small, most homeowners aren’t willing to take the risk. Having insurance grants peace of mind and security in the event of expensive damage to a home’s structure or foundation. An earthquake policy is typically separate from the standard homeowner’s insurance policy. You likely do not have this coverage unless you’ve specifically purchased it.

How to Assess Your Need for Earthquake Insurance

Look at the Arizona seismic hazard map to assess your risk of earthquakes based on region. If you’re in a moderate to high-risk area, consider the construction of your house. If you live in a house built on sandy soil, fill, or even concrete you could be at risk of structural damage. What is your house made of? Materials like brick are more susceptible to crumbling in an earthquake. Your region and design of your home will help you know whether this type of insurance is worth the expense. Keep in mind that the lower your risk of earthquakes, the less the insurance will cost.

Ask your current homeowner’s insurance company what adding earthquake insurance would cost. Shop around to compare prices with other companies. A little shaking isn’t all you have to worry about during an earthquake in Arizona. Earthquakes often set off chain reactions that involve house fires from ruptured gas lines. Earthquake insurance likely will not cover these damages, but your standard homeowner’s policy might. Check your policies carefully to see what your insurer will and will not cover in the event of a natural disaster.

The Takeaway

Compared with many other states, the risk of serious earthquakes in Arizona is relatively slim. Still, earthquake property damage has occurred in Arizona and could happen again. If you’re in doubt about the future safety of your home, invest in an earthquake policy. You’ll have peace of mind and a source for recovery in the event of property damage from an earthquake.