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Home > Earthquake Risk > Personal Preparedness

How to be Prepared for an Earthquake

No one can predict when or where an earthquake will strike, but you can prepare yourself and your family before one hits. Practice earthquake safety and make an earthquake preparedness plan today. 
 
Before an earthquake, know response guidelines, including the following from the Seven Steps to Earthquake Safety:

Protect your home investment and bounce back from a devastating earthquake with the best choices of earthquake insurance from CEA.

Now, let’s take a deeper dive on all the ways you can prepare for earthquakes.

Personal Preparedness Tips


Preparing for an earthquake isn’t complicated. Commit a few hours and organize simple resources to create a safety plan for you and your family.

Learn the Seven Steps to Earthquake Safety

You can prepare, survive and recover from an earthquake by following the Seven Steps to Earthquake Safety.

Prepare for an earthquake by securing your space, organizing needed supplies and minimizing your financial hardship with home earthquake insurance.

Survive when the earth shakes by performing Drop, Cover, and Hold On.

Restore your daily life by repairing damage and reconnecting with others.

Make an earthquake preparedness plan now.

Practice Drop, Cover, and Hold On

  • Drop: Wherever you are, drop onto your hands and knees. This position helps keep you from being knocked down, and allows you to crawl to shelter. 
  • Cover: With one arm and hand, cover your head and neck. If there is a nearby desk or table, crawl under it for shelter. If there’s no shelter, crawl next to an interior wall away from windows. 
  • Hold On: If you’re under shelter, hold onto it with one hand. If there’s no shelter, hold on to your head and neck with both arms and hands. 

Emergency Supplies

What would it be like to be in your home for days without water, electricity and phone service? After the1989 Loma Prieta earthquake, 16,000 housing units were left uninhabitable and people were displaced without the simple necessities. Visit our How to Make an Earthquake Emergency Kit blog for basic and detailed lists of earthquake preparation supplies.

Remember to refresh water and food items in your kits every six months.

How to Prepare Your Home

Prepare and protect your home BEFORE an earthquake. Decrease your risk of damage and injury from an earthquake by identifying possible home hazards. Complete your earthquake plan by identifying and securing the following hazards:

  • Tall, heavy furniture that could topple, such as bookcases, china cabinets, or modular wall units.
  • Water heaters that are not up to California code could rupture.
  • Stoves and appliances that could move enough to rupture gas or electrical lines.
  • Hanging plants in heavy pots that could swing free of hooks.
  • Heavy picture frames or mirrors over a bed.
  • Latches on kitchen cabinets or other cabinets that will not hold the door closed during shaking.
  • Breakables or heavy objects that are kept on high or open shelves.
  • A masonry chimney that could crumble and fall through an unsupported roof into your home.
  • Flammable liquids, such as painting or cleaning products, which would be safer in a garage or outside in a shed.

Last but not least, protect the investment in your home with CEA earthquake home insurance. Earthquake insurance will provide your with the peace of mind, when, not if, the big one hits.

Choose from our affordable and flexible policies today.

Understanding Structural Risks Your House Could Face during an Earthquake

The violent shaking from earthquakes can rupture the earth, trigger landslides and turn the surface of the earth to liquid. Your home also may be vulnerable to serious structural damage if it was built before 1980.

Earthquake safety preparation includes your understanding of the potential structural threats to your home in case of an earthquake.

A seismic retrofit involves strengthening your home’s foundation to make it more resistant to shaking. CEA offers earthquake home insurance premium discounts for houses and mobilehomes that have been properly retrofitted. Find out about grants to help pay for retrofits under the Earthquake Brace & Bolt Program, and the CEA Brace & Bolt program.

Evaluating Geologic Hazards that Threaten Your Property

Every region of California has earthquake risk, but some of those risks can be lessened with the help of a California licensed engineer.

  • Discover where the active faults are in your area. Then learn about your house’s structural risks and the steps you can take to seismically strengthen your house. 
  • Earthquakes often trigger landslides, causing significant and even catastrophic damage to houses. If your house is in the path of an earthquake-induced landslide, it is at risk for damage from landslide debris, as well as sliding downhill itself. California Office of Emergency Services MyHazards can help you find out if the area where you live or work is prone to earthquake-induced landslides. 
  • Earthquake motion can turn loosely packed, water-saturated soil to liquid—"liquefaction.” Liquefied soil loses its density and ultimately the ability to support roads, buried pipes, and, of course, houses. If liquefaction occurs on or near your property, your house may sink by inches or several feet and be surrounded by or filled with liquefied soil. 

CEA earthquake-insurance policies provide coverages for rebuilding and repair, loss of use, and personal property, even breakables. Contact your insurance agent or residential insurance company to find the CEA policy right for you.

Understanding Your Local Risks & Hazards

California is earthquake country. With nearly 16,000 known faults, each region of the state holds earthquake risk. Most of us live within 30 miles of an active fault. Know your risk.

Find out about faults in your area by visiting the CEA risk map for each county. This information will be your first stop as you create an earthquake preparedness guide.

Buying the Right Earthquake Insurance Coverage

Whether you are a homeowner, mobilehome owner, condo-unit owner or renter, find the best choices in earthquake insurance by CEA. Typical home insurance policies and renters insurance don’t include earthquake coverage. A homeowner or renter needs a separate earthquake policy to cover damages from an earthquake.

When the 7.1 Ridgecrest quake hit Southern California in 2019, mobilehomes were knocked off their foundations, and there were breaks in water mains. This damage came the day after a 6.4 quake affected the same area.

CEA affordable and flexible home earthquake policies:

  • Offer choices of coverage and deductibles.
  • Protect the investment in your home.
  • Provide you with peace of mind when, not if, the big one hits.

Complete your earthquake preparedness in California with earthquake insurance.

Get a Free Earthquake Insurance Estimate!

Without CEA’s affordable earthquake residential insurance, you will be responsible for all of the cost to repair your home and replace your belongings after an earthquake. Select from 5%-25% deductibles. Find out if earthquake insurance is right for you with a free estimate today.

  

Calculate Your Earthquake Insurance Premium