Help your clients minimize earthquake loss

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Table of Contents

Share these ways to minimize earthquake damage and injury with your clients
Why do West Coast homeowners need earthquake insurance?
Why choose Arrowhead’s Residential Earthquake Program?
How your residential clients can prepare for an unpredictable earthquake
How to keep pets safe in an earthquake
Help your commercial clients make preparations to minimize earthquake loss
What to do during an earthquake: Drop, cover and hold on
In the earthquake’s aftermath, assess, communicate, stay safe
The Great ShakeOut: Practice is important!

Share these ways to minimize earthquake damage and injury with your clients

It’s been three decades since the powerful Northridge earthquake, and most West Coast homeowners continue to refuse earthquake insurance. Many are unaware that their homeowners policy doesn’t cover quake damage; others cross their fingers and hope it never happens to them.

Most of the nation assumes California is the primary state affected by earthquakes. But that’s not necessarily true. While the West Coast (California, Oregon and Washington), along with Hawaii and Alaska experience the most quakes, every state can potentially experience temblors.

Why do West Coast homeowners need earthquake insurance?

  • Previously unknown “blind thrust” faults exist. The Northridge earthquake in 1994 is an example of this. The quake was the costliest in U.S. history, with 60 deaths and damages of more than $20 billion. A “blind thrust” fault is one that’s invisible on the Earth’s surface and thus not previously mapped.
  • New faults are continuously being discovered.
  • It’s fiscally unwise to ignore the risk.

Arrowhead’s Residential Earthquake Program is one of our most successful insurance programs, insuring thousands along the West Coast. Agents, if you’re not currently contracted to write earthquake insurance with us, you can start your appointment here.

Why choose Arrowhead’s Residential Earthquake Program?

“We’re able to take on a wide variety of risks, including certain risk types that others just don’t have the pricing factors to provide,” explained Angie Keus, vice president of our Residential Earthquake Program. The program offers coverage for a wide range of personal dwellings, from small condo units to multi-million-dollar mansions, up to a TIV of $15 million. Quotes are processed quickly with a no-money-down option.

Earthquake policies have a retention percentage rate of 80 percent on average. They’re a ‘one and done’ type policy. Simply write it and forget about it, since it just keeps renewing itself.

“I’m in Everett, Washington, but I asked my California contacts what sources they use for earthquake insurance,” says Claudia McClain, McClain Insurance Services. “Arrowhead’s name kept coming up, so I put in a call and asked to be notified as soon as Arrowhead had an admitted EQ product in Washington state.

“We chose Arrowhead for its earthquake program because of the ease of quoting and variety of deductible and coverage choices,” she added.

Read our most frequently asked questions from producers.

Once you’re able to offer our insurance coverage, you’ll want to share the following information with your clients on what they can do ahead of time to prepare for an earthquake, how to minimize damage and injury and keep pets safe. We also include tips on what to do during a quake and what steps to take after a quake hits.

How your residential clients can prepare for an unpredictable earthquake

Rarely do earthquake provide any warning before they strike. For this reason, your clients need to take precautions ahead of time so that when one does hit, they’re ready.

Precisely because scientists have never been able to accurately predict a major earthquake, being prepared is crucial. After all, “Earthquakes don’t kill people. Buildings do.” Your homeowners would be wise to

There are a number of earthquake alert apps specific to various cities or states that are available free. Navigate to your app store and search under “earthquake alert.”

Then urge your clients to view this blogpost with home preparation tips including identifying and correcting any structural issues, how to make your home safer, creating a family disaster plan and more.

How to keep pets safe in an earthquake

Our pets depend on us to defend them and keep them safe; if we aren’t prepared, neither are they. Whether you need to evacuate or shelter in place, it’s vital that you have advance plans for pet safety in place.

View our list of tips to keep pets safe, from microchipping them and knowing their hiding places, to keeping their vet records updated and creating a pet disaster emergency kit. 

Help your commercial clients make preparations to minimize earthquake loss

Employers have the responsibility to ensure their workplace is safe, which includes site inspections and retrofitting when necessary, bracing heavy equipment and appliances, anchoring file cabinets, top-heavy furniture, etc. and installing a main gas shut-off device. Employers should also regularly check fire extinguishers, pumps and water tanks, because fire is the most common hazard after an earthquake.

The safety of employees is the highest priority during and after an earthquake.  Educating employees on what to do when a quake hits is crucial, explaining “duck, cover and hold” and the fact that smoke alarms and sprinklers may be set off, even though there’s no fire.

View more ways to prepare a worksite for an earthquake

Additionally, we advise employers to create a disaster business plan for a possible earthquake. Your plan should include steps employees should take during an after a temblor. This blogpost can help you with details to include in your plan.

What to do during an earthquake: Drop, cover and hold on

If your clients live anywhere along the West Coast, chances are they’ve felt the ground suddenly lurch beneath their feet, windows shake violently, and items fly off shelves, crashing to the ground—all of which leave them more than a little shaky themselves. Most of us have heard how we should react, but in the heat of the moment, panic may take over. So share these points with your homeowner clients.

If your clients are at home with a quake hits, follow these steps.

  • Drop to the ground.
  • Take cover under a sturdy object such as a table to escape flying debris; with one hand, cover your head and neck.
  • With the other hand, hold on to your table leg, because it may shift to expose you.

If at work,

  • Wait in your safe place until the shaking stops, then check for injuries. Take care of yourself first, and then check the people around you. Watch out for things that have fallen or broken, creating hazards. Be ready for aftershocks.
  • Be on the lookout for fires. Fire is the most common earthquake-related hazard, due to broken gas lines, damaged electrical lines or appliances, or previously contained fires or sparks being released.

Read more aftermath steps to take

In the earthquake’s aftermath, assess, communicate, stay safe

Your homeowner clients should:

  • Check for gas leaks, chemical spills, damaged electrical wiring and broken water pipes.
  • Don’t re-enter a structure or use any open flame (even a candle) until you’re sure there’s no gas leak.
  • Contact your insurance agent; take photos of damage; save receipts from any repair or cleaning expenses.
  • Monitor local media to learn where to get emergency housing, food, first aid and financial assistance.

Your business owners should start with:

  • Checking for injuries and administering first aid
  • Checking water, gas and electric lines for damage and shutting off valves if necessary.
  • Smell gas? Get everyone outside.

Learn more steps to take in this article

The Great ShakeOut: Practice is important!

Few-to-no warnings exist prior to an earthquake. They always take us by surprise, and often we’re ill-prepared and tend to panic. For this reason, it’s important to practice a simulation of a quake and how you, your family and your co-workers should react.

Going on its ninth year in 2024, millions of people participate in The Great ShakeOut, held this year on Oct. 17 at 10:17 a.m. To participate, sign up on the appropriate ShakeOut state website.




When you register your agency, and when your clients register themselves or their businesses, you (and they) will be listed on your state’s website. In fact, when you register, you can add a link to your agency’s website.

ShakeOut organizers have prepared a plethora of earthquake preparedness resources that are free. You can download and email or print and hand out to clients. These materials range from social media posts to flyers and posters on earthquake preparedness during and after a quake. View the resource pages to download California materialsOregon materials, and Washington materials.