Riding Out the Next Big Earthquake

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Help your clients prepare for the next big earthquake

In preparation for the next big earthquake, this October, millions of residents and organizations in California, Oregon, Washington and other states will be participating simultaneously in The Great Shake Out drills. This is a perfect opportunity for personal lines producers to remind their clients about earthquake safety and the need for earthquake insurance.

Many policyholders don’t know that their regular homeowners policy may not cover any earthquake damage. And many who are new to the West Coast have never experienced an earthquake and may therefore be unprepared for the “big one” or even a smaller quake.

Why is The Great Shake Out important? Because our natural reaction to danger (Run!) is the opposite of what we should do in the event of an earthquake: DropCover and Hold On.

You as an insurance agent/broker can help by providing crucial information to your clients such as what to do before, during and after a quake.

View our Earthquake Hub for more articles on how to prepare for and what to do during and after a quake.

Before an earthquake: PREPARE

  • Identify and correct any issues in your home’s structure
  • Do a “hazard hunt” for items that might fall during earthquakes and secure them
    • Move bookcases away from beds or sofas
    • Move heavy objects to lower shelves
    • Ensure your water heater is properly strapped
    • Secure televisions, computers and other heavy breakables
    • Hang mirrors and pictures on closed hooks
    • Install latches on kitchen cabinets to prevent breakables from falling out
    • Use flexible connections where gas lines meet appliances (water heaters, ovens, dryers)
  • Create a personal or family disaster plan
    • Spell out how you will communicate during an emergency and where you will meet afterwards
    • Keep copies of essential documents (identification, medical and financial records, insurance policies), along with a household inventory, in a secure container that you can easily access
  • Organize your emergency supply kits so that you’re equipped for several days with such items as
    • Medications, prescription lists and medical information
    • Bottled water and snack foods
    • Emergency cash
    • Flashlight and batteries
    • Toiletries and any other special provisions needed for your family or pets

During an earthquake: DROP, COVER and HOLD ON

  • 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



  • 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
Related: How to minimize earthquake damage and injury

Since 2008, millions of businesses, schools, government agencies and individual families have participated in the drills, to help them get ready for the next big earthquake. To participate, start by signing up on the appropriate 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.

The Great Shake Out website has an Earthquake Safety video series, a PowerPoint to aid you in a drill, several flyers to hand out to clients and prospects, posters to display, sample social media posts, safety and preparedness tips and more. You should be able to add your contact information to these pieces so that you can use them as safety announcements plus tie in your offer for earthquake coverage.

Arrowhead offers a number of residential earthquake products for personal and commercial lines producers. For more details, please view our programs page and select an earthquake program (residential or commercial).

Related: Today is the ShakeOut for earthquake preparedness

Take Advantage of the Shake Out to prepare your clients for the next big earthquake and also write new business.

Agents, take a look at our Residential Earthquake Program to add to your portfolio of insurance solutions.