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How Much Does It Cost To Repair Earthquake Damage?

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Earthquakes can be devastating natural disasters, especially in areas where earthquakes aren't common and buildings generally aren't constructed to stand up to them. Unfortunately, earthquakes can happen just about anywhere, at any time, and without much warning at all.

What Types of Homes Are at Risk?

Any type of building can be damaged by an earthquake if it's severe enough, but the main types of residences at risk include soft-story buildings, single-family homes, mobile homes, and unreinforced masonry buildings.

Condos are often damaged by earthquakes because they tend to be housed in buildings with large openings on the first floor for garage spaces, open living areas and the like. Single-family homes that aren't bolted to their foundations or lack overall wall bracing can be at a major risk during an earthquake as can mobile homes that are often made of lightweight materials with weak frames.

Possible Repairs Needed

Following the devastation of an earthquake, there are a number of repairs that may need to be made in order to restore a home or building to its original, livable condition. Most repairs generally have to do with fixing broken pipes and wiring that was damaged or severed during the earthquake. In situations where gas lines are disrupted by an earthquake, special precautions must be taken during repair.

Earthquakes can also cause structural damage to a home or building, which could lead to the home needing to be partially or even completely rebuilt, depending on the extent of the damage. Even in situations where the earthquake only causes cracks along walls and ceilings, a building's foundation will need to be carefully inspected to ensure there are no serious underlying problems. For homes with foundation problems following an earthquake, repairs can easily cost between $5,000 and $10,000.

Sadly, homeowners without earthquake insurance often spend more than $30,000 in repairs following an earthquake.

What About Earthquake Insurance?

Fortunately, earthquake insurance is available and is highly recommended for homeowners in areas where earthquakes are common. In earthquake-prone areas, the average cost of this type of insurance is around $800 per year. However, when compared to the average cost of earthquake-related repairs, it seems well worth it.

Earthquake insurance covers a variety of expenses following an earthquake such as property damage from earth movement.

Consider Retrofitting

Finally, home and business owners who want to better reinforce their buildings against earthquakes should consider retrofitting options such as having a home bolted to its foundation or replacing an existing building frame with stronger, heavier materials like steel. This type of retrofitting usually costs between $4,000 and $7,000, though the actual cost will depend on the size of the building.

While most building owners will never have to deal with the aftermath of an earthquake, the fact remains that these natural disasters often happen suddenly and without warning, causing lots of expensive damage. By taking steps to retrofit against earthquake damage and purchasing earthquake insurance, everybody can enjoy greater peace of mind.

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