Earthquake damage is not covered by standard homeowner insurance

So, you’ve been paying your homeowners insurance premiums for years. As a result, you feel safe and secure in your home, knowing that if something causes damage, such as a fire or a burglary, you’ll be covered. And, of course, it’s also nice to know that your homeowners insurance policy covers you when someone gets hurt on your property.

But don’t let this sense of security fool you into thinking all damage is covered! Quite a few things aren’t typically included in the standard homeowners insurance policy. So let’s look at some of the most common exclusions to ensure you’re financially protected against as many accidents as possible.


Although homeowners insurance will cover some types of water damage, like a busted or frozen pipe, it won’t cover external flooding sources. If you live in a flood zone and water damages your home, your homeowners insurance won’t cover the damage. That’s because flooding is an excluded cause of loss. Instead, you’ll need to purchase flood insurance through either the federal government or a private company that offers flood coverage through its commercial policies (the NFIP does not offer commercial insurance). If you live in an area that gets frequent flooding, it’s worth it.


Earthquakes occur when tectonic plates “get stuck at their edges due to friction. When the stress on the edge overcomes the friction, there is an earthquake that releases energy in waves that travel through the earth’s crust and cause the shaking that we feel.”

Most homeowners’ insurance policies do not cover earthquake losses, but you can buy an endorsement or rider that extends coverage. If you live in a high-risk area for earthquakes, your insurer may offer a policy with a higher deductible and additional premium. For example, if you’re a resident of California, you can buy an earthquake policy from the California Earthquake Authority.

If you decide not to get earthquake insurance, you’ll have to pay the entire cost of repairing your home if a quake damages it. It’s something to consider, especially if you live near a fault line. A disaster like an earthquake can wreak havoc on your home and belongings, leaving you with more expenses than you can afford.


Underground voids cause sinkholes or cavities. They can also occur when an area is exposed to excessive water or erosion, which occurs when minerals in the soil are dissolved out of rock and carried away by groundwater. When a cavity forms below these surfaces and goes undetected, it can collapse suddenly in an event called a subsidence sinkhole. Earthquakes and landslides can also cause sinkholes that damage or destroy property.

A standard homeowners policy doesn’t typically cover home damage due to sinkholes. However, you can add sinkhole coverage as an endorsement to your existing homeowners policy. Like an earthquake, sinkholes form due to the movement of the earth, which standard homeowners insurance plans don’t cover.

Nuclear Accidents

Nuclear accidents aren’t common, but when they occur, they’re catastrophic. Unfortunately, homeowners insurance doesn’t typically cover loss or damage from a nuclear accident. You also can’t get an additional endorsement to cover such an event. However, nuclear power plants have insurance coverage, and you would be protected under that.


Termites can cause a lot of damage to your home, and they don’t discriminate. They’ll eat anything possible and do a lot of damage to your home. Termites eat wood until there is nothing left. They also build tunnels under your house, where they live and breed. These tunnels are covered with dirt, so you may not know that you have a problem until it is too late.

If you sustain termite damage, a standard homeowners policy won’t typically cover it unless your home collapses from termite damage. The idea is that homeowners must be responsible for maintaining their homes and preventing termite damage. If you live in an area where termites are common and you see any signs of termite infestation, call a pest control expert immediately to check out the extent of the problem.


Your homeowners insurance does not cover neglect. Neglectful behavior includes not maintaining the property or failing to repair or replace damaged, broken, or worn-out items. For example, suppose you let your roof go unrepaired after a windstorm, and the damage leads to leaks and mold. In that case, your insurer will not usually reimburse you for repairing or replacing the damaged property.

You should also be aware that neglect can occur even when you’re not living in your home. For example, if you’ve moved out but left behind personal belongings, they may still be covered as part of your policy, though they might require an additional rider. But if they’re left in an uninhabitable or unusable state due to negligence on your part, they’re not typically eligible for insurance reimbursement.


War involves the intentional destruction of property and the injury or death of people. Homeowners insurance does not generally cover acts of war; however, war risk insurance can cover your home if you live in an area at high risk of a military attack.


So, as you can see, there are many items that homeowners insurance won’t cover. If you want to be safe, consider purchasing extra flood and earthquake insurance if you live in a high-risk area. You should also ask your insurance agent about risks that could affect your home. for example, if you live in an area where sinkholes are common. But keep in mind that insurance policies are not all the same, so check with your provider and see what your specific policy covers and doesn’t cover.

ABC Dennis Insurance Agency

ABC Dennis Insurance is an independent insurance agency established in 1997 that provides homeowners insurance to its customers. If you have not reviewed your insurance coverages this year, please call our office at (813) 949-7765 or email us.

Besides homeowners insurance, we can help with all your insurance needs. As an independent agency, we find the best insurance coverage with the most competitive rates.