Does Renters Insurance Cover Earthquakes?

Renters insurance almost never pays for damage to your things caused by earthquakes.

If you live in an area where earthquakes are common, consider adding earthquake coverage to your renters insurance or buying a separate policy. Earthquake coverage is usually less than $5 per month, and it can help you recover if an earthquake hits your area.

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Earthquake insurance for renters

Do I need earthquake insurance as a renter?

Earthquake insurance is the only way to get paid for damage to your things after an earthquake.

As a renter, you generally don't have to buy earthquake insurance. However, an earthquake insurance policy or add-on to your renters insurance may be a good idea, based on the chances of an earthquake where you live.

Earthquakes and damage related to "earth movement" are almost never covered by a regular renters insurance policy. You have to buy add-on coverage or a separate earthquake insurance policy to get coverage. If you live in a high-risk area, like California, earthquake insurance is a good idea.

Earthquakes can cause a lot of damage, even if you don't own a home. The shaking can knock things over. Your TV might fall off the wall and break, for example, or your plates could fall out of the cabinets.

Earthquakes can also make the ground around your home unstable, called "liquefaction." In some situations, this can fill your home or building with liquefied soil, which can ruin your furniture. Earthquakes can also trigger landslides that cause severe damage to your home and everything in it.

Whether you buy earthquake insurance is your choice. But you can ask some questions to help you decide.

  • Are earthquakes common in my area?
  • Have I ever felt an earthquake in my home?
  • Could I afford to replace my belongings if they were destroyed?
  • Is there somewhere I could stay if my home or apartment was damaged?

What does renters earthquake insurance cover?

Earthquake insurance for renters covers your belongings when they are damaged by an earthquake.

Like regular renters insurance, an earthquake policy for renters has a few different coverage parts.

  • Personal property coverage pays to repair or replace your belongings if they're damaged in an earthquake. This includes furniture, appliances, clothing and electronics.
  • Breakables coverage pays to repair or replace fragile items like glassware, pottery or porcelain. This is often a separate type of coverage because these items aren't usually covered automatically.
  • Loss of use coverage pays for a hotel or temporary apartment if you can't live in your rented home or building after an earthquake. It also pays for things like restaurant and laundromat services, parking fees and pet boarding.
  • Debris removal pays for the cost of removing earthquake debris from the home or property you are renting.

Your earthquake policy will also have a deductible, which is the amount you pay before your coverage kicks in. Earthquake deductibles are usually percentages, which means you have to pay that percentage of a claim. For example, if you have a 15% deductible and $8,000 worth of damage, you pay $1,200 and your insurance company pays the rest.

Situations covered by earthquake insurance

  • Earthquakes
  • Sinkholes
  • Liquefaction
  • Landslides, mudslides or rockslides caused by an earthquake
  • Other earth movement

What earthquake insurance for renters doesn't cover

Earthquake insurance for renters doesn't cover everything. An earthquake policy will only cover damage caused by earthquakes and other related events, like aftershocks and sinkholes. And depending on what was damaged, you might not have coverage even if an earthquake is to blame.

If you live near the coast, know that flooding is usually not covered by earthquake insurance — even if the flood is caused by an earthquake.

Not covered by renters earthquake insurance

  • Your car
  • Structure of your apartment or house
  • Damage from flooding (even if caused by an earthquake)
  • Any damage that isn't related to earth movement

For example, your renters earthquake policy doesn't cover the home you rent or the building you live in. Your landlord is responsible for the cost of repairing your home after an earthquake.

How much does earthquake insurance for renters cost?

An earthquake insurance policy can cost between $3.27 and $4.89 per month if you're a renter.

And that's for renters in California, who have a high chance of earthquake damage compared to renters in other areas of the country. If you live somewhere with a lower risk, a policy or add-on will probably be even cheaper.

California renters insurance earthquake coverage and rates

Property coverage
Loss of use
Monthly cost

All quotes are based on a 15% deductible.

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Earthquake insurance for renters is much less expensive than it is for homeowners because the structure of the home or building you live in isn't part of the coverage. For example, the cost of homeowners earthquake insurance in California is $148 per month for $500,000 of coverage.

Frequently asked questions

How do I get earthquake insurance for my apartment?

You can usually get earthquake insurance either as an add-on to your renters insurance policy or as a separate stand-alone policy. If you live in an area where earthquakes aren't common, you can probably add the coverage to your renters insurance. But if you live in a high-risk area like California, you will probably need to get a separate policy.

Is earthquake insurance worth it for renters?

Earthquake insurance is probably worth it if you live in a high-risk area like Alaska, California, Hawaii, Idaho, Kentucky, Missouri, Montana, Oregon, South Carolina, Tennessee, Washington or Wyoming. It's also important to consider whether you would struggle to replace your belongings or cover the cost of temporarily relocating if your home became uninhabitable.

How much earthquake insurance do I need?

Make sure you have enough coverage to replace your belongings if they're damaged or destroyed in an earthquake. The best way to figure out how much personal property insurance you need is by creating an inventory of your things. You'll also need to determine how much alternative housing will cost if you can't stay at your place after an earthquake.


ValuePenguin collected sample earthquake insurance quotes for rental properties in 25 California cities. Our experts used two different levels of coverage. Rates are from the California Earthquake Authority (CEA) cost estimator. The CEA handles the majority of all earthquake insurance policies sold in California.

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