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Earth Movement Insurance Coverage

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If you are building a new home or moving into an area that is close to a fault line, has regular landslides, or other similar types of events, it is important to consider adding earth movement insurance to your policy. But what exactly is earth movement insurance coverage?

Homeowners can opt to purchase earth movement insurance coverage which is an additional policy or endorsement that covers the risks associated with disasters or events that move the earth and cause damage to the house.

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While not everyone has this endorsement on their homeowner’s policy, it is an important option to consider. Below we highlight what events this insurance covers, which states offer the coverage, and other important examples to help you decide whether it is right for you. 

Key facts
  • Earth movement insurance is an additional endorsement a homeowner can add to their policy.
  • Earth movement insurance covers incidents like landslides, earthquakes, and settling.
  • Not every state can purchase an Earth Movement endorsement.

What does earth movement insurance cover?

A policy with earth movement coverage protects your property from damage resulting from an earthquake, which is a sudden and violent shaking of the ground caused by the movement of the earth’s crust. It also covers sinkholes and naturally occurring depressions in the ground caused by land settlement or sudden collapse, which makes this product particularly beneficial.

Who can purchase earth movement coverage?

Almost anyone in the United States can purchase earth movement coverage. This coverage is typically available to add on any day unless it is within 72 hours of an earthquake or land movement event. There are five states that cannot purchase this coverage. They are:

  1. Alaska
  2. California
  3. Hawaii
  4. Florida
  5. Illinois

If you still want some sort of coverage similar to earth movement coverage in these areas, you will need to call and discuss them with your insurance agency, as many restrictions apply.

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Standard homeowners policy excludes earth movement

Under a standard homeowners insurance policy, earth movement is defined as shifting, expanding, rising, contracting, and sinking of the earth, regardless of the presence of water. Seismic activities and earthquakes aren’t the only things covered by earth movement insurance. There are a few important exclusions:

  • Sinking. Poor compaction or water during construction can cause the ground beneath your home to settle, which can result in sinking.
  • Shifting. This refers to lateral movements that can also cause massive damage to your property.
  • Contracting. As with earth contracting, this seeks to broaden its exclusions, making potential coverage impossible.
  • Rising. The foundation of your home will be damaged if the soil underneath bulges, heaves, or rises. The soil can expand if there is too much water in it.
  • Expanding. Rising earth is not broad enough; expanding is included as an additional exclusion. Although they are similar, the dismissal of the policy exclusion leaves uncertainty as to its intent to exclude damages due to earth movement.

These exclusions are the specifics that make earth movement coverage so important. This additional endorsement will cover the standard exclusions listed in a standard policy.

Earth movement homeowners insurance coverage

Examples of incidents that are covered

If you have earth movement insurance, you may be wondering what it covers. Below we list some of the most common incidents that this will cover.

  • Earthquakes. Damage caused by severe earthquakes can be severe. It can cause cracks, structural destruction, and other severe damage. This policy covers this instance.
  • Landslides. If you are in an area that is mountainous and suffers from landslides, this policy will cover any damage to your home or secondary structures that suffer from this incident.
  • Mudslides. Similar to landslides, any damage to a home or secondary structure from a mudslide will be covered after the deductible is met.
  • Settlement. Houses naturally settle over time. If this causes a depression or collapse, this policy will take care of the costs of repairs.

If you live in an area that is prone to any of the incidents listed above, then it is a good idea to consider purchasing an earth movement endorsement. Although it will cost additional money, it could save you thousands of dollars in the long run.

Examples of incidents not covered

It is important to note that not every instance listed above will be covered by certain earth movement policies. Some insurance companies will exclude earthquakes from this policy and create a separate endorsement for this coverage. When selecting coverage, be sure to clarify this with the agent before making a final decision.

Don’t be blindsided by earth movement

Earth movement can be devastating, but if you are properly prepared, it can be remedied without too much stress and economic hardship. Researching additional endorsements is always recommended to help make your home as safe and secure as possible.

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Katelyn is a freelance copy editor and writer based in Massachusetts. She holds Bachelor's Degrees in Business Administration and Political Science, both from Fitchburg State University, as well as a Master's Degree in Public Administration from UMass Amherst. In her free time, Katelyn enjoys reading, traveling, and spending time with her family.
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