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How do I decide whether or not to get earthquake insurance?

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Welcome to CoreFacts, where we're always short on time and big on science. I'm Jessica Robertson. Today's question involves protecting yourself from natural hazards.

How do I decide whether or not to get earthquake insurance?

When deciding whether or not to get earthquake insurance, here are some things you should consider:

  • proximity to active earthquake faults;
  • seismic history of the region or frequency of earthquakes;
  • time since the last earthquake;
  • building construction, which includes type of building and foundation;
  • architectural layout;
  • materials used;
  • quality of workmanship;
  • extent to which earthquake resistance was considered by the designer;
  • local site conditions such as type and condition of soil;
  • slope of the land;
  • geologic structure of the earth underneath;
  • annual rainfall;
  • value of the building and its contents; and
  • cost of the insurance and restrictions on coverage.

And now you know. Join us again every weekday for a new CoreFact. For other CoreFacts, or for CoreCast, our in-depth science podcast, go to If you'd like to have a question featured on our show, give us an email at or a phone call at 703-648-5600. Remember, long distance fees do apply.

CoreFacts is a product of the U.S. Geological Survey, Department of the Interior.

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