Make Sure You're Covered if an Earthquake Strikes

Standard homeowners policies won't pay for damage due to earthquakes. Find out how to fill the holes in your coverage.

A 5.9 magnitude earthquake hit the East Coast today and could be felt in Washington, D.C., New York, Boston and to the west in Cleveland, Ohio. It's good reminder that disaster can strike anywhere at any time and that you should take steps now to be prepared. The first thing you should do is make sure you have enough insurance coverage to avoid being wiped out financially.

About 5,000 earthquakes strike each year, yet standard homeowners policies do not cover earthquake damage, according to the Insurance Information Institute (III). To get coverage, you'll need to add an endorsement to your existing policy or buy a separate earthquake policy, which is available from private insurers or the California Earthquake Authority if you live in that state.

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Cameron Huddleston
Former Online Editor,

Award-winning journalist, speaker, family finance expert, and author of Mom and Dad, We Need to Talk.

Cameron Huddleston wrote the daily "Kip Tips" column for She joined Kiplinger in 2001 after graduating from American University with an MA in economic journalism.