Earthquake insurance in Oregon

Homeowners insurance doesn’t cover earthquake damage. Earthquakes are considered a hazard in Oregon, so homeowners in Oregon may want to consider earthquake coverage.

Kara McGinley

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Kara McGinley

Kara McGinley

Senior Editor & Licensed Home Insurance Expert

Kara McGinley is a senior editor and licensed home insurance expert at Policygenius, where she writes about homeowners and renters insurance. As a journalist and as an insurance expert, her work and insights have been featured in Kiplinger, Lifehacker, MSN, WRAL.com, and elsewhere.

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Although Oregon doesn’t experience as many severe earthquakes as its neighboring state of California, earthquakes are still considered a major natural hazard in the Beaver State. In 1993, the Portland metro area experienced two earthquakes — ranging from 5.6 to 6 in magnitude — that resulted in over $30 million in damage. [1] [2]

Standard homeowners insurance doesn’t cover earthquake damage. If you live in an area of Oregon that’s near a fault line or subduction zone, you may want to consider adding earthquake coverage as an endorsement to your home policy, or purchasing a standalone earthquake insurance policy.

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Do I need earthquake insurance in Oregon?

Earthquake insurance is not required by law, but may be something you’d want to consider if you live in an area of Oregon that's at high risk for earthquakes. 

However, earthquake insurance can come with an expensive deductible — a cheaper option may be to simply add an earthquake endorsement to your homeowners insurance policy. A Policygenius agent can help you find homeowners insurance companies that offer earthquake coverage. 

When deciding to purchase earthquake insurance, you’ll need to consider how at risk you are for earthquakes and how much you'd be able to pay out of pocket to repair your home after a quake if you decide to forgo earthquake coverage.

→ Learn more about how to decide on earthquake insurance

What does earthquake insurance cover?

Earthquake insurance helps pay to replace, repair, or rebuild your home and personal property if either are damaged by a quake. Below is what earthquake insurance does and does not cover.

Policy

What it covers ...

  • Repairing or rebuilding your home if it’s damaged by a quake

  • Repairing or replacing your personal belongings if it’s damaged by a quake

  • Additional living expenses — like hotel stays or restaurant meals — if you need to temporarily live elsewhere while your home is being repaired after a quake

Policy

What it doesn't cover ...

  • Additional damage caused by an earthquake, like if the earthquake results in a fire — this would be covered by home insurance

  • Sinkholes

  • Floods or tsunamis — you’ll need flood insurance for that

  • Damage to your vehicle

How much does earthquake insurance cost in Oregon?

The cost of your earthquake insurance is going to vary greatly depending on the age of your home, its location, its build, and more. 

In a 2009 Oregon Division of Financial Regulation survey of the Portland market, it was determined that the cost of earthquake insurance for a wood-frame home insured for $300,000 with $150,000 in personal property coverage cost around $200 to $300 per year. [3] This is likely more expensive today, due to the increase in construction costs and inflation over time. 

Earthquake insurance deductibles are another major factor to consider when buying earthquake insurance — they tend to be more expensive since they’re set at a percentage of your coverage instead of a flat dollar amount like standard home insurance deductibles.

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Understanding earthquake insurance deductibles in Oregon

You choose what you set your deductible to when you purchase your policy. In Oregon, most insurers offer the option of a 10% deductible or a 15% deductible. [4]

Let’s use the same coverage example as above.

Say you insured your home for $300,000 and set your deductible to the 10% option, that means you'd receive a claim payout for $270,000 ($300,000 dwelling coverage minus $30,000 deductible).

That’s a pretty expensive deductible to pay before insurance even kicks in, which is one of the cons of earthquake insurance. As mentioned, you’ll have to weigh the risk of earthquake damage to your home along with how much you can afford to pay. Keep in mind that many insurers offer a cheaper option — which is adding earthquake coverage to your homeowners policy for an additional fee — but the coverage is usually less comprehensive than a standalone earthquake insurance policy.

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Frequently asked questions

Where can I buy earthquake insurance in Oregon?

Many major insurers — like Allstate, Progressive, and Nationwide — offer earthquake coverage. Check with your homeowners insurance company to learn if they offer standalone policies or earthquake coverage endorsements.

Frequently asked questions

If you live in an area of Oregon that experiences frequent, strong earthquakes — and you can afford the premiums on top of home insurance — earthquake insurance may be worth it. You’ll need to weigh up several factors when purchasing earthquake insurance, like how close your home is to a fault, how frequent earthquakes are, the age and build of your home, if you can afford to repair your home after an earthquake, and more.

References

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Policygenius uses external sources, including government data, industry studies, and reputable news organizations to supplement proprietary marketplace data and internal expertise. Learn more about how we use and vet external sources as part of our

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  1. Oregon Division of Financial Regulation

    . "

    Earthquake Insurance

    ." Accessed May 10, 2022.

  2. State of Oregon

    . "

    Hazards and Preparedness - Earthquakes

    ." Accessed May 10, 2022.

  3. Oregon Division of Financial Regulation

    . "

    Earthquake Insurance

    ." Accessed May 10, 2022.

Author

Senior Editor & Licensed Home Insurance Expert

Kara McGinley

Senior Editor & Licensed Home Insurance Expert

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Kara McGinley is a senior editor and licensed home insurance expert at Policygenius, where she writes about homeowners and renters insurance. As a journalist and as an insurance expert, her work and insights have been featured in Kiplinger, Lifehacker, MSN, WRAL.com, and elsewhere.

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