Does home and car insurance cover earthquakes?

Emergency workers stand on Melbourne street after earthquake.
Photo by Iliya Jokic on Unsplash.

Earthquakes aren’t all that common in Australia, which is why many were shocked when a quake hit Victoria on Wednesday. The small town Mansfield was at the epicentre of the earthquake and the highest magnitude recorded was 5.9 at 9.15am.

So far there have been no reported serious injuries, but there has been building damage. If you haven’t experienced an earthquake before, right now you might be wondering whether it’s possible to claim repairs with your car or home insurance. 

Here’s the lowdown on insurance and earthquakes.

Does home insurance cover earthquakes?

The first thing to know is that earthquake damage is often covered with home building and contents insurance. Where earthquakes are included as an insured event, building insurance will usually provide cover for damage to the actual property, while contents insurance will usually provide cover for damage to belongings inside the home. For example, a piece of furniture might be damaged by falling rubble.

Often earthquakes and tsunamis are listed together on insurance policies. Although thankfully the Bureau of Meteorology has reported that there is no tsunami threat to Australia from the earthquake. Generally, policies that cover earthquakes will cover damage caused within 72 hours of the initial quake. 

An insurance company may also require that the earthquake has been officially recorded by a geoscience organisation, run by the Australian government. The earthquake in Victoria was recorded by Geoscience Australia

So to sum up, generally earthquake damage is covered with home insurance. Although it is always a good idea to read through the PDS that accompanies a specific policy to double check. You may also find that the definition for earthquakes varies from policy to policy. Some insurance plans may even have waiting periods. This means you may have to wait a certain amount of time after taking out the policy to be covered.

Does car insurance cover earthquakes?

Generally speaking, comprehensive car insurance is the type of car insurance most likely to provide cover for earthquake damage. Although some third party fire and theft insurance plans may provide cover for quakes too.

Some policies may not specify earthquakes, but instead stipulate that cover is provided for natural events. If earthquakes are not mentioned in the PDS, it might be a good idea to give the insurance provider a ring and clarify whether or not quake damage is covered. 

With both home and car insurance, how much cover you have after an earthquake will depend on the individual policy. That includes whether the policy covers earthquake damage, any excesses that may apply, limits and sublimits.

Head to Mozo’s compare car insurance page to see what comprehensive policies are available in Australia right now. Or check out the deals below.

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