Earthquake Insurance: Boon or Bane?

Does earthquake insurance make sense for homeowners? It almost certainly did when it used to cost cents-on average, six or seven per $100 cost of rebuilding-but that was when insurers bet that a truly damaging earthquake would roll around only once every 1,500 years. Coming off Canada’s biggest natural-disaster payout year in history (floods, ice storms), rates have nearly doubled. Rates vary by location, with delta dwellers in places like Richmond paying the most and condo owners getting a bit of a break.

Our newly expanded rates are still about half those in California, where earthquakes are more common, yet almost half of British Columbians have been declining the coverage, which is rarely included in a basic property insurance bill and required by only a few mortgagors. These homeowners are taking the opposite bet, rolling the dice that the big one won’t strike quite yet


Including earthquake insurance on a $500,000 dwelling (there’s no need to insure that $2 million lot) will add $500 a year to your property insurance bill-with a deductible possibly into six figures. Five years ago, that coverage would have cost only $300 a year