TheInsurance Information Institutereports that updated maps from theU.S. Geological Surveyshow that 42 states are at risk for earthquakes, with 16 states at high risk, however a recent study by the I.I.I. reveals that only 7 percent of homeowners nationwide report having earthquake coverage, down from 10 percent last year.

Earthquake insurance provides protection from the shaking and cracking that can destroy buildings and personal possessions and is available from private insurance companies. In California, coverage also is available from theCalifornia Earthquake Authority(CEA). The cost of earthquake coverage varies, depending on the location of the property, how it was built and the terms of the insurance policy. The CEA website offers a premium calculator to help California residents estimate the cost of a policy for particular home.

See also: 2013's Costliest Catastrophes: Tornadoes

Earthquake insurance carries a deductible, generally in the form of a percentage rather than a dollar amount. Deductibles can range anywhere from 2 percent to 20 percent of the replacement value of the structure. Insurers in states with a higher than average risk of earthquakes, such as Washington, Nevada and Utah, often set minimum deductibles at around 10 percent. The standard CEA policy includes a deductible that is 15 percent of the home’s replacement cost. Cars and other vehicles are covered for earthquake damage under the optional comprehensive portion of an auto insurance policy.

“Standard homeowners, renters and business insurance policies do not cover damage from earthquakes,” says Jeanne M. Salvatore, SVP and chief communications officer at the I.I.I. “Coverage is only available in the form of an endorsement or as a separate policy. The time to find out what is in your insurance policy isbeforeyou have a loss. It is also very important tounderstand the deductiblesin your policy and how they will affect your claim.”

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