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Insurance agents advise homeowners to get additional coverage for earthquakes

Posted at 7:13 PM, Jul 05, 2019
and last updated 2019-07-05 22:13:33-04

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. — Local insurance agents said it's important to understand that even if you have a homeowners or renter's insurance policy-- it does not cover earthquake damages.

"But I can almost guarantee that we are going to see a bunch of or an influx of calls that are going to come in in the next week or two," State Farm Insurance Agent James Banks told 23ABC.

Banks said anytime there is a natural disaster, like the 6.4 magnitude earthquake in Ridgecrest, many residents start to think more about their current insurance coverage on their home.

"If the earthquake comes before the fire then the earthquake coverage would take place, if the fire come before the earthquake then the fire policy out of your homeowners would actually take place," Banks said.

He said many times residents don't understand what exactly their policy covers.

"What you need to understand is that you have to actually get another policy separate from your homeowners or your renters policy to cover earthquakes," Banks said.

Banks said homeowner insurance typically covers a variety of things like fires, theft, vandalism, electrical current issues and more but not earthquake damage.

He said the cost of the earthquake insurance is going to depend on the size of your home, the cost of your home, the deductible you are willing to pay, how much coverage you want to get, how much you want to pay for things lost in a disaster and whether you have homeowners or renters insurance already.

"But a new home buyer's policy is probably going to range somewhere between three to four hundred dollars for a year," Banks said.

It's an added cost for home owners and renters that they may not use, but Banks said it's an extra layer of security that covers more than just your home in the event that the earthquake damages your home.

"But your content items and then you throw in there, loss of use, which basically means that if your house is inhabitable you are going to need some place to stay so that's going to be covered as well," Banks said.

However, for people in and around Ridgecrest who don't already have earthquake insurance you will still have to wait 15 days for home assistance.

"There is a moratorium on it at this point so for the first 15 days between the times of July 4 through July 19 you won't have it in effect but there is a 15 day waiting period so you will have to wait 15 days before that policy becomes active," Banks said.

Banks said its important to double check with your insurance agent to make sure you have the correct policy.

He said it's not too late to get earthquake insurance but you will still have to wait 15 days for it to take effect.