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Earthquake Insurance: are you covered?

For hundreds of thousands of Canadians living in British Columbia's lower mainland and Vancouver Island, earthquakes are a risk with seismologists recording frequent small tremors. Canadians and Americans, however, felt the 4.7 quake in December 2015 that struck off the coast of Victoria. The Globe and Mail quoted a nearby resident who said the noise was like a freight train.

There was no tsunami, but experts stated this earthquake—the most powerful to hit the region in over a decade—increased the need for people to talk about preparation, but done so without fear. Dr. John Clague, earth sciences professor at Simon Fraser University, explained a megathrust earthquake (magnitude 9 or greater) is imminent along the Cascadia Subduction Zone.

The risk is apparent with the likelihood of a devastating earthquake looming, but the Insurance Bureau of Canada (IBC) advises lower mainland residents to “Be Prepared, Not Scared.” A Swiss Re study stated 65 per cent of affected BC households have earthquake insurance. An earlier IBC study documents a 30 per cent chance of a significant quake in BC over the next 50 years.

Earthquake risk can be managed with insurance, but also well-practiced emergency planning. Insurance experts at Western Financial Group and its subsidiaries are your expert sources for information. Build a readiness plan, prepare your home and pack an emergency kit to ensure loved ones are a well-oiled machine regarding safety in the event of a significant earthquake.

While it's unlikely a regular homeowners plan would cover primary earthquake damage, insurance experts with Western indicate it might cover damage from secondary perils. Western’s insurance experts state earthquake insurance is typically bought separately or added onto existing policies. Contact your local broker to learn more about earthquake insurance in your region.

Western’s earthquake coverage is available in British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba and Ontario. Provide peace of mind by covering all your bases.