The Best Earthquake Insurance Companies in California of 2023

Earthquake insurance can help pay for damages following a seismic event. The best earthquake insurance in California may perfectly complement standard homeowners insurance to more completely protect a home in the event of a major disaster.

By Jeff Keleher | Updated Jan 20, 2023 6:11 PM

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The Best Earthquake Insurance in California Options

Photo: istockphoto.com

The persistent threat of earthquakes can mar the otherwise picture-perfect California landscape as seismic activity may cause catastrophic damage at any moment. Once the dust has settled and the rubble has been cleared, California homeowners may be left paying out of pocket to address damage caused by seismic events not covered by a standard homeowners insurance policy. Footing the bill to repair or even replace a home after an earthquake may not be feasible without assistance, and that’s where earthquake insurance can help.

Whereas homeowners insurance will only pay for damages indirectly caused by earthquakes—fires and burst pipes, for instance—earthquake insurance can provide funds to pay for damage directly caused by seismic activity and ground movement. An earthquake insurance policy may include dwelling, personal property, and loss of use coverage so policyholders can receive funds to repair their home, replace destroyed belongings, and pay for temporary living expenses if necessary.

Although this is a fairly niche form of insurance, there are many options for homeowners to consider, especially in California. The best earthquake insurance in California will provide the right coverage options, price point, and customer experience to suit a particular homeowner’s needs. When looking for the best earthquake insurance, California residents will want to closely review the top providers available and assess what each one brings to the table.

  1. BEST OVERALL: GeoVera
  2. RUNNER-UP: Aegis Insurance
  3. BEST DISCOUNTS: Allstate
  4. BEST CLAIMS PROCESS: Farmers Insurance
  5. ALSO CONSIDER: Amica


The Best Earthquake Insurance in California Options

Photo: istockphoto.com

What to Consider When Choosing One of the Best Earthquake Insurance Companies in California

Buying earthquake coverage can seem daunting at times because of the highly specialized nature of this type of insurance. However, the process of choosing the best earthquake insurance in California is similar to purchasing traditional homeowners insurance: It’s all about finding the right fit. Homeowners will want to first consider what exactly they want in an earthquake insurance provider—coverage options, customer experience, price point, and reliability, for example—and then find a company that can deliver on those priorities.

Policy Type

When searching for the best earthquake insurance, California residents may find that coverage is offered through different types of policies. Companies that specialize in catastrophe coverage may offer earthquake insurance as a stand-alone policy. This option may be preferable to homeowners who want to take a best-in-class approach to their insurance coverage and select separate policies for their homeowners and earthquake insurance.

On the other hand, some homeowners may not want to juggle multiple insurance policies on their home and would rather receive earthquake coverage as an extension of their existing homeowners insurance. In those cases, it may be worth looking into endorsements or add-on options that insure homes in the event of seismic activity. Companies that offer add-on earthquake coverage may do so through the California Earthquake Authority (CEA), which is a marketplace for earthquake insurance and provides most earthquake insurance in California. Although coverage is provided by the CEA, homeowners must purchase the policy through their homeowners insurance carrier, which will handle payments and any claims. Although less commonly available, some companies may offer earthquake insurance as either a separate policy or as an extra endorsement to be added to a homeowners insurance policy.

Quote Process

Homeowners may find that getting a quote on earthquake insurance isn’t quite as easy as it would be with standard homeowners insurance. Few companies support an online quote process for this type of coverage, and it’s very possible that customers will need to speak directly to an earthquake insurance agent, either in person or over the phone, to get an accurate quote on an earthquake policy. This can make shopping around for the best earthquake insurance companies a trickier proposition since it will require more legwork to gather quotes from different providers and compare coverage options and rates. Companies that focus on catastrophe coverage may be more likely to provide an online quote option, though, since earthquake insurance is a core competency rather than a niche service add-on.

Claims Process

Filing an insurance claim can be stressful under the best circumstances, but homeowners who have just experienced an earthquake may find this process to be even more taxing. When a policyholder’s home or belongings have been significantly damaged by an earthquake—potentially even leaving the property uninhabitable—a quick and responsive claims process can be extremely helpful. Having different options for submitting a claim, such as through a mobile app, over the phone, or through the company’s website, can make it easier for policyholders to file a claim in the event that they don’t have access to the internet or a landline following an earthquake. In some cases, insurance providers may even send out mobile claims centers to areas affected by seismic activity to help homeowners submit a claim as quickly as possible.

Deductible

The deductible on an insurance policy is the amount of money the policyholder is responsible for when filing an insurance claim. As the name suggests, the deductible is deducted from the policyholder’s approved claim amount. With that in mind, a policy’s deductible can have a major impact on any payout a homeowner could expect to receive when filing a claim through their earthquake insurance. While other types of insurance may have flat-rate deductible options, earthquake insurance deductibles are typically represented as a percentage of the policy’s dwelling coverage. As with other types of deductibles, choosing a higher earthquake insurance deductible will usually lower a policyholder’s premiums, while a lower deductible will often result in higher premiums but will provide a larger payout in the event a claim is filed.

Additional Policies

When picking an earthquake insurance provider, California residents may want to streamline their insurance needs by using the same company for all of their policies. That may include homeowners, auto, and earthquake insurance, but companies may offer a wide variety of other insurance policies to consider. For instance, California homeowners may need to insure boats, motorcycles, RVs, or off-road vehicles. They may also want additional coverage for other types of catastrophes, like floods, to fully insure their property against different natural disasters. Life insurance may be an appealing form of coverage as well. Additional policies can vary from one company to another, so if homeowners are interested in obtaining all of their insurance coverage through one provider, it may be worth checking what other types of insurance are available before buying an earthquake policy.

Discounts

Taking advantage of available discounts can help policyholders lower their insurance premiums and save money on their policy. Earthquake-specific discounts are less common than other types of discounts, but some companies do offer them. For instance, policyholders may receive a lower rate if their home’s foundation has been reinforced or retrofitted to minimize the impact of seismic activity and ground movement. Multipolicy discounts may also be available to customers who purchase stand-alone earthquake insurance along with their homeowners insurance policy. In cases where earthquake coverage is offered as an add-on to homeowners insurance, customers may want to look at discount opportunities related to their homeowners insurance policy since they will affect the total cost of coverage.

AM Best Rating

A company’s AM Best rating can provide some much-needed insight into the organization’s financial status and long-term outlook. AM Best is a credit-rating agency that specializes in the insurance industry, assessing the creditworthiness of different insurance providers and then assigning them a letter grade. California residents may want to seek out an earthquake insurance company with a high AM Best rating as it may suggest that the company is in a better position to continue providing coverage for the foreseeable future. In addition, since an AM Best rating is a reflection of a company’s financial circumstances, insurance providers with high ratings may have more assets at their disposal to consistently pay out claims in a timely manner.

Our Top Picks

The best earthquake insurance companies in California may stand out due to their coverage options, insurance premiums, range of deductibles, quote and claims processes, and AM Best ratings, among other factors. It’s important to compare the different options available to find the right provider for each situation.

Best Overall

The Best Earthquake Insurance in California Option GeoVera
Photo: geovera.com

Why It Made the Cut: GeoVera specializes in insurance for earthquakes and other catastrophes, offering stand-alone policies, a single-limit option, a low minimum deductible, and a convenient online quote tool.

California residents looking for an insurance provider that focuses specifically on earthquake coverage may want to consider GeoVera. Although the company provides other types of policies as well, its main focus is earthquake insurance for West Coast homeowners, and policyholders may find that GeoVera’s representatives are well equipped to quickly and effectively process any claims they file as well as help address any policy questions they have. GeoVera’s earthquake insurance policies are stand-alone policies, so they can’t be added to an existing homeowners insurance plan. However, this also means that California residents aren’t required to take out a homeowners policy with GeoVera to get earthquake coverage from the company. They have the flexibility to complement their homeowners insurance with a GeoVera earthquake policy and take a best-in-class approach to their insurance needs.

Although GeoVera does not offer earthquake insurance for renters, eligible homeowners can choose from three different earthquake policies, including a single-limit plan. Rather than have separate coverage limits for dwelling, personal property, and loss of use, as is typical with earthquake insurance, the single-limit option sets one coverage limit for all damages. When filing a claim, policyholders will receive a single payment (minus their deductible), which they can then use to pay to rebuild their home, repair any additional structures on the property, replace destroyed possessions, and cover the costs of living expenses following an earthquake. This option may provide simpler and more straightforward coverage terms. Having this flexibility could even help policyholders avoid paying out-of-pocket expenses if they need funds to repair their home, replace destroyed belongings, and pay for temporary housing since different types of coverage are not individually capped.

Getting a quote with GeoVera is relatively easy thanks to the company’s intuitive and customizable online quote tool. One option homeowners may want to focus on during the quote process is the deductible; GeoVera offers deductibles as low as 2.5 percent of the policy’s dwelling coverage, which could lead to larger claims payouts since the policyholder will owe less.

Specs

  • Policy type: Stand-alone
  • Quote process: Online, phone
  • Claims process: Online, phone
  • Deductible: 2.5 percent to 25 percent of dwelling coverage
  • AM Best rating: A

Pros

  • Specialty in insurance policies for catastrophes
  • Stand-alone earthquake insurance policies
  • Single-limit policy available
  • User-friendly and specifics-driven online quote process
  • Relatively low starting deductible of 2.5 percent

Cons

  • No option to bundle with an existing homeowners insurance policy
  • Coverage not available for renters

Runner-Up

The Best Earthquake Insurance in California Option Aegis Insurance
Photo: aegiseasy.com

Why It Made the Cut: Aegis Insurance gives California homeowners plenty of options to consider with their earthquake insurance, including stand-alone policies, add-on policies, and various deductibles, along with standard pool coverage and a multipolicy discount.

Aegis Insurance presents two different ways for California residents to purchase earthquake insurance and protect their homes from the financial fallout of a seismic event. Customers can choose a stand-alone policy that’s separate from their homeowners insurance or buy earthquake coverage as an add-on to a homeowners policy with Aegis Insurance. With this flexibility, customers can get earthquake coverage from Aegis no matter which company they use for their homeowners insurance.

Customers may want to note that they will need to either call or email an agent if they want to file a claim as there is no option to submit a claim online. Policyholders may have more flexibility to adjust their out-of-pocket expenses on a claim, though, thanks to the wide range of deductible options available. They may also be able to reduce their coverage costs by bundling a stand-alone earthquake policy with other types of insurance. Although Aegis Insurance’s B++ AM Best rating is somewhat low for this market, it’s still considered a “good” grade according to the credit–rating agency’s grading scale. California homeowners with pools may also be interested in the $25,000 worth of pool coverage that comes with each earthquake insurance policy; such coverage is often only available as an add-on option with earthquake insurance, so having it come standard can increase the value of an Aegis earthquake policy.

Specs

  • Policy type: Stand-alone, add-on
  • Quote process: Phone
  • Claims process: Phone, email
  • Deductible: 5 percent to 25 percent of dwelling coverage
  • AM Best rating: B++

Pros

  • Stand-alone and add-on policies available
  • Standard $25,000 pool coverage
  • Multipolicy bundling discount on earthquake insurance
  • Wide range of deductible options

Cons

  • No online claim option
  • Relatively low B++ AM Best rating

Best Discounts

The Best Earthquake Insurance in California Option Allstate
Photo: allstate.com

Why It Made the Cut: California homeowners looking to reduce the cost of their earthquake insurance may find Allstate to be an intriguing option thanks to the available discounts on reinforced and retrofitted homes.

Allstate offers earthquake protection as an added endorsement to its homeowners insurance policies in California and other states. Although the company’s website could be more forthcoming about the coverage options available, it does highlight some noteworthy features that may appeal to California residents. For instance, policyholders can manage their insurance policies and file claims with relative ease using Allstate’s dedicated mobile app. In a crisis such as an earthquake, the company will send out a fleet of mobile claims centers to help policyholders submit a claim as quickly as possible. These mobile claims centers also provide additional assistance to communities affected by earthquakes, handing out water and other supplies to local residents.

Policyholders who have retrofitted their home by reinforcing their crawl space to better withstand seismic activity may be eligible for a discount on their insurance. This discount is also automatically applied to any policies covering homes that have been built on concrete slabs. Allstate currently holds an A+ AM Best rating, which is high for earthquake insurance providers and reflects the company’s strong long-term outlook and ability to continue meeting its obligations as an insurance company. As such, customers may enjoy more peace of mind knowing that their insurance provider is on strong financial footing and should be able to pay out any claims promptly.

Specs

  • Policy type: Add-on
  • Quote process: Phone, agent
  • Claims process: App, online, phone, agent, mobile claims center
  • Deductible: 5 percent to 25 percent of dwelling coverage
  • AM Best rating: A+

Pros

  • Discount for homes built on a concrete slab or with a reinforced crawl space
  • Convenient policy and claims management via mobile app
  • Simplified claims process after a catastrophe through mobile claims centers
  • Relatively high A+ AM Best rating

Cons

  • Limited online resources for earthquake insurance

Best Claims Process

The Best Earthquake Insurance in California Option Farmers Insurance
Photo: farmers.com

Why It Made the Cut: Farmers Insurance stands out among the best earthquake insurance companies in California thanks to the many options customers have to file a claim and receive assistance following an earthquake.

Homeowners who prioritize a user-friendly claims process may find that Farmers Insurance is the right choice for their earthquake insurance needs. The company’s dedicated mobile app may come in handy if policyholders need to file a claim after a disaster as they can upload documents, contact their agent, and check their claim status through the app using whatever mobile networks are available. Although the website’s chat function doesn’t always provide helpful assistance, policyholders can quickly start the claim process at any time by sending a text message to their insurance provider.

The lack of available discounts does limit opportunities to reduce the cost of coverage, but Farmers Insurance shines in other ways. In particular, the company’s on-site mobile claims centers can help residents impacted by an earthquake file a claim; contact family and friends in other parts of the country; and access food, water, and other supplies. This level of support could be a huge relief following a traumatic experience such as an earthquake.

Specs

  • Policy type: Add-on
  • Quote process: Phone, agent
  • Claims process: App, online, phone, agent, mobile claims center, text
  • Deductible: 5 percent to 25 percent of dwelling coverage
  • AM Best rating: A

Pros

  • Convenient policy and claims management via mobile app
  • Ability to file a claim via text message
  • Simplified claims process after a catastrophe through mobile claims centers

Cons

  • Limited discount opportunities
  • Online chat function can be user-unfriendly

Also Consider

The Best Earthquake Insurance in California Option Amica
Photo: amica.com

Why It Made the Cut: Amica offers many different insurance policies that California homeowners can pair with their earthquake insurance, as well as a high AM Best rating for this type of coverage.

California homeowners may want to streamline their insurance needs by purchasing all the coverage they need from one insurance provider. Amica may be in a position to help provide that one-stop insurance shop with the many different types of policies it offers. In addition to homeowners insurance with an earthquake endorsement, customers can purchase auto, life, umbrella, and event insurance from the company. California residents may be particularly interested in Amica’s motorcycle, marine, and flood policies as well.

When buying earthquake insurance from Amica, homeowners will want to be aware that coverage is limited to homes built since 1975. In addition, they may find that the purchase process can be somewhat drawn out in some cases. The wait may be worth it to work with an insurance provider that has so many policy types available, though. Also, the company has a very high A+ AM Best rating, so customers know their insurance provider is in a good place financially and will likely continue offering services for years to come.

Specs

  • Policy type: Add-on
  • Quote process: Phone
  • Claims process: Online, phone
  • Deductible: 5 percent to 25 percent of dwelling coverage
  • AM Best rating: A+

Pros

  • Wide range of other policy types available
  • Relatively high A+ AM Best rating

Cons

  • No coverage available for homes built before 1975
  • Potentially long purchase process for earthquake coverage

Our Verdict

The Best Overall award goes to GeoVera because the company has a strong focus on earthquake insurance, along with low deductible options, a user-friendly online quote process, and a single-limit policy. The Runner-Up award was given to Aegis Insurance due to the availability of both stand-alone and add-on earthquake coverage, as well as the standard pool coverage that comes with each policy and the option to bundle policies for an extra discount.

How We Chose the Best Earthquake Insurance Companies in California

When determining the best earthquake insurance in California, we looked at both stand-alone and add-on policies since some residents may prefer to buy a separate policy and others may perfer to add earthquake coverage to their homeowners insurance policy. Another factor that was heavily weighted was each company’s experience with earthquake coverage, as some providers specialize in this type of insurance and may be better positioned to process claims and offer assistance. The claims process was an important consideration as well, with some companies offering multiple ways to file claims and even provide on-site support to policyholders affected by an earthquake. We also looked at the range of deductibles available as a policyholder’s selection could impact the size of any claim payout they may receive down the line. Our research also took into account AM Best ratings as these grades may provide insight into the financial performance and outlook for each organization.

Before You Choose One of the Best Earthquake Insurance Companies in California

As homeowners review the best earthquake insurance companies in California, it’s important to assess the value of this type of coverage and if it makes sense for a particular situation. The United States Geological Survey recommends that homeowners take into consideration their proximity to fault lines, how active those fault lines are, the structure of their home, and the value of their property and possessions, among other factors. Earthquakes can impact the entire state of California, but homeowners who live closer to fault lines may find earthquake coverage to be especially important for their well-being and peace of mind. California residents may also want to consider how they would be able to respond in a worst-case scenario. If their home were to be completely destroyed by an earthquake, would they have the money to rebuild or buy a new house? If not, then getting a policy with one of the best earthquake insurance companies in California may be worth the investment.

When deciding how much coverage is necessary, it may be helpful to look at the dwelling coverage included in a current homeowners insurance policy. Dwelling coverage will typically reflect how much homeowners insurance is needed to completely replace the structure of the home in a worst-case scenario. California homeowners may want their earthquake insurance to match their homeowners dwelling coverage and review their coverage yearly to ensure their policy will cover the costs to rebuild if their home is destroyed following an earthquake.

Cost of Opting for One of the Best Earthquake Insurance Companies in California

How much does earthquake insurance cost? Premiums can depend on a number of factors, including the policy options selected, deductibles chosen, level of risk, and the structure of the insured property. Homeowners who choose higher coverage limits for dwelling, personal property, and loss of use coverage will likely face higher insurance premiums on their earthquake policy. Because earthquake insurance deductibles are based on a percentage of the dwelling coverage, these limits could further impact earthquake insurance costs if policyholders ever need to file a claim.

California residents may find that earthquake insurance is more expensive in their state compared with rates in other areas at risk for seismic activity due to the frequency of tremors and ground movement in the region. Policyholders may be able to lower their premiums by reinforcing their foundation or crawl space, although the availability of such discounts will vary from company to company.

The Advantages of Opting for One of the Best Earthquake Insurance Companies in California

Buying earthquake coverage can provide peace of mind to California residents who worry when the next big tremor will strike—and if it does, how they will be able to afford fixing any resulting damage. A standard homeowners insurance policy will not cover earthquake damage unless it is the result of an ensuing covered event, such as pipes bursting or a fire starting in the home. With that in mind, earthquake insurance could help California homeowners rebuild if the worst comes to pass and their home is significantly damaged during an earthquake. The best earthquake insurance providers in California offer plenty of other benefits that can aid homeowners:

  • Stand-alone and add-on policies to appeal to homeowners who want to supplement or expand their homeowners insurance.
  • Single-limit policies that give policyholders one catch-all coverage amount for all types of earthquake claims.
  • Generous discounts for homes built on a concrete slab or with reinforced crawl spaces.

FAQs

Finding the right earthquake insurance policy can seem tricky at first because of its niche appeal and relative lack of availability compared with other types of insurance. California residents who feel a bit overwhelmed by the whole process may benefit from taking some time to look at a few of the most common questions that other homeowners ask about earthquake coverage—for instance, “Does homeowners insurance cover earthquakes?” By doing so, they may clear up any confusion they may have and put themselves in the best position to land the best policy for their needs.

Q. Is earthquake insurance required by law in California?

No, the state of California does not require residents to obtain earthquake insurance. Even so, considering the amount of damage ground movement can cause, it may be a good idea for homeowners to get coverage. In addition, California residents may want to take steps to prepare for emergencies in the event of an earthquake such as reinforcing the home’s foundation and creating virtual backups of important documents.

Q. What is a good deductible for earthquake insurance?

Earthquake insurance deductibles are typically calculated as a percentage of the policy’s dwelling coverage. In many cases, companies will offer deductible options ranging from 5 percent to 25 percent of the dwelling coverage, but customers may find even lower deductibles available from some providers.

Q. What is not covered by earthquake insurance?

Specific exclusions may vary from policy to policy, but as the California Department of Insurance notes, earthquake insurance typically excludes perils that would otherwise be covered by homeowners insurance, such as fire or smoke damage. Homeowners will also need to purchase separate flood insurance if they want to be covered for flooding water as earthquake policies will not cover that kind of damage.

Q. What happens if my home gets destroyed by an earthquake?

Homeowners with a current earthquake policy will want to contact their insurance provider as soon as possible to start the claim process and receive funds to pay for living expenses. In the meantime, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau recommends applying for government aid, such as the sheltering assistance provided by FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency), so policyholders have a place to stay after suffering an earthquake. It may also be a good idea to have one of the best earthquake kits handy in case homeowners need emergency supplies like food, water, and first aid.

Q. Do home warranties cover earthquake damage?

It’s important to remember what a home warranty is and the purpose it serves. Home warranties cover home systems and appliances for normal wear and tear. They do not cover damage caused by an external source, including earthquakes. As such, homeowners will not be able to use their home warranty to help pay for repairs following an earthquake. If homeowners want coverage in the event of an earthquake, California insurance providers may be able to offer stand-alone or add-on policies.

Q. Does homeowners insurance cover earthquake damage?

Some policyholders may believe that earthquake damage is covered under the hazard insurance component included in their homeowners policy, but that’s not the case. Neither homeowners insurance nor renters insurance will cover earthquake damage, but they may cover perils that occur as a result of seismic activity. If an earthquake were to rupture a gas line and cause a fire, for instance, then a homeowners policy may help pay for those specific damages.