Understanding Seismic Risk on the US West Coast

by | Apr 20, 2023 | Industry Resources

Earthquakes are a matter of when, not if, on the US West Coast

Earthquakes can strike suddenly and with a devastating force, potentially causing widespread damage.

The US West Coast, which includes California, Oregon, and Washington, is located along the Pacific Ring of Fire, a region known for its high seismic activity. This is due to the interaction of several tectonic plates, which can cause significant seismic events. Over the years, the West Coast has experienced numerous notable earthquakes, including the 1906 San Francisco earthquake, the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake, and the 2001 Nisqually earthquake, among others.

Many urban areas on the West Coast are located in seismically active zones, which can increase the risk of damage to buildings, roads, bridges, and other infrastructure during earthquakes.

The Importance of Earthquake Insurance

Earthquake insurance provides coverage for damages and losses resulting from earthquakes. Here are some key reasons why having earthquake insurance is essential:

  • Largely Not Covered by Standard Insurance Policies: Homeowner’s and commercial property insurance policies typically do not cover damages and losses resulting from earthquakes. Without separate earthquake insurance, property owners may be left financially vulnerable in the event of an earthquake. Earthquake insurance provides an additional layer of coverage specifically tailored to protect against damaging seismic risks.
  • Potential for High Repair and Rebuilding Costs: Earthquakes can cause extensive damage to buildings, roads, bridges, and other infrastructure. The cost of repairing or rebuilding damaged structures can be substantial, especially given the severe shortage of available labor and materials that typically follow significant earthquake events. Earthquake insurance can help bridge the earthquake protection gap and provide financial assistance to repair or rebuild damaged property as well as for the cost of temporary housing.
  • Peace of Mind: Earthquakes can be unpredictable and cause widespread damage. Having earthquake insurance provides reassurance to owners of homes and businesses that they have financial protection in the event of an earthquake.

Palomar Protects

Palomar is an industry leader at providing comprehensive, flexible earthquake insurance coverage.


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