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January 24, 2019
3 min read time

6-Steps to Prepare Your Homeowners Association for an Earthquake

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You can never predict an earthquake, but you can plan and prepare for one. 

Maintaining awareness of your insurance coverage in the event of an earthquake is a simple but effective way to help a homeowners association mitigate damages when an earthquake does occur. 

In this post, we'll look at 6 tips on how to prepare your homeowners association for an earthquake. 

1. Offer Resources for Your Homeowners 

Provide your homeowners with literature and resources on how to stay prepared. Use your HOA or condo association website to post links to reputable sources such as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Earthquake preparedness and response website

Make this a part of your "welcome" package as new tenants or homeowners move into your area. Help educate them now to help them respond so when the unexpected does happen, they will be as ready as they can be. 

2. Know Your Governing Documents

Are you responsible for damages to homeowner's houses or condo? What about other property they may own within the house?

It's important to understand exactly who is responsible for what before a disaster happens. Review your homeowners association's governing documents documents to see if any language specifically states your HOA or condo association covers damages related to an earthquake. 

3. Review Association Insurance Coverage

If you have any questions or concerns once you've reviewed your policy, call your insurance Agent. Review your HOA's earthquake policy with a representative from your insurance Agent as soon as possible, before an earthquake occurs. Confirm the extent of the coverage, liability, and limits. Go through it line by line if necessary. It may seem tedious, but it's better to understand your policy than go into a disaster scenario with any level of uncertainty. This allows you to limit surprises later. 

If your policy does cover earthquake damages, know the details. Understand your deductible, premiums, and any other pertinent information. Do your research on cost before purchasing any earthquake insurance

If your policy doesn't cover earthquake damages, talk to your insurance Agent about the possibility of adding it. Explore the potential costs and risks of not having coverage. 

4. Make Sure Your Homeowners Know Who is Responsible for Damages 

At a  board meeting,  you could explain the HOA's responsibility in the event of an earthquake. If the community association is responsible for damages, make sure residents understand the extent of what the association would cover. Have a copy of your community's governing documents and insurance policy on hand during the discussion. It's important to leave no room for doubt, as you don't want to argue over these kinds of concerns once the recovery period begins. 

Maybe there is nothing in your associations governing documents that explicitly state earthquake damages are covered. Perhaps it makes general references to disasters. If so, consider working with your association's attorney to get clarification on whether or not an earthquake applies. 

5. Open Communication 

Maintain an open line of communication with your community board. Let them know if you are responsible for damages. Being proactive in this area will help you avoid disputes if you are unable to communicate with any residents prior to an earthquake. You will have the support of the board if you keep them informed. 

6. Be Aware of the Impacts

Whether or not you have earthquake insurance, your homeowners will take a major financial hit while recovering from a major earthquake. It's important to understand that they'll need your support, resources, and assistance in recovering from this event. 

Recovering from an earthquake may not be easy, but that's no reason to let it catch you off guard. Educate yourself and your HOA. Prepare before one happens to make an already difficult situation even worse. 

For more tips on how to keep your HOA or condo association prepared for an earthquake, contact us today!

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