NEW YORK (CNN) -- The earthquakes in Haiti and Chile remind us about how vulnerable our own homes may be in the event of an earthquake. While we have the good fortune to even have the option to buy earthquake insurance for our homes, there are some things you should know about this type of coverage.
1. Your risk
In the United States about 5,000 earthquakes strike each year. Since 1900, earthquakes have occurred in 39 states and caused damage in all 50.
The potential damage and cost of earthquakes is increasing all the time because there's simply more buildings and development in risky areas. Plus, older buildings tend to be more vulnerable to a quake.
While the United States experiences only 2% of the world's earthquakes, some 90% of its population lives in seismically active areas. Some of the most vulnerable cities include: major metro areas in California, Seattle, Portland, New York City, Salt Lake City and St. Louis.
2. Pricing factors
Earthquakes in the United States are not covered under standard homeowners policy. You'll have to buy a separate policy.
Rates vary widely by each insurance company. Some factors that could impact your rate include:
These policies are not cheap. In fact deductibles can be anywhere from 2 to 20% of the replacement cost of the structure.
In real terms that means, if the cost to rebuild your house after a quake is $100,000 and your policy has a 10% deductible, you would be responsible for the first $10,000.
And premiums can be expensive too. On an average Los Angeles home, you may pay up to $2,500 a year, says Miller.
3) Other damage
Remember, it's not just the quake itself that causes damage, but tsunamis, floods and fires that occur afterward.
If you have flood insurance, you should be covered, but check with your insurer. If your house catches fire after an earthquake, it should also be covered under your standard policy. Cars and other vehicles are covered for earthquake damage under the comprehensive part of the auto insurance policy.
|Overnight Avg Rate||Latest||Change||Last Week|
|30 yr fixed||3.69%||3.76%|
|15 yr fixed||2.80%||2.82%|
|30 yr refi||3.69%||3.76%|
|15 yr refi||2.83%||2.83%|
Today's featured rates:
Chipotle to hold company-wide staff meeting Monday to keep E. coli away. More
The economy is better than it was, but not even President Obama is ready to declare it's booming. More
Laurie Segall sits down with Foursquare's new CEO Jeff Glueck to discuss the company's latest round of funding at a lower valuation, and their hybrid consumer/enterprise business model. More
Nonprofit JumpStart has launched a new $10M fund that will only invest in women and minority-led startups. The catch: You have to move to Ohio. More
Portland, Oregon, is often described as the last affordable cool city on the West Coast. But as more people move to the city, it's becoming increasingly unaffordable. More