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The Recent Earthquakes Near Ridgecrest, California

On Thursday, July 4th, at 10:33 a.m. PST a magnitude 6.4 earthquake struck about 12 kilometers (10.5 miles) southwest of Searles Valley in the Mojave Desert. Multiple aftershocks followed, and on Friday, July 5th, another earthquake struck with a magnitude of 7.1. These were the largest magnitude earthquakes to strike California in 20 years.

The California Earthquake Authority (CEA) has approximately 2,000 policyholders in the affected areas, including ZIP Codes 93555 (Ridgecrest), 93527 (Inyokern), and 93562 (Trona), who may have experienced very strong to severe shaking.

Now that these earthquakes are over, many CEA policyholders will be looking to you, their agents, for help and guidance. You may have already started receiving calls from your insureds. If not, it's likely you will soon. At CEA, we're committed to helping you support your clients as they recover.

A look at the damaged caused by July's big earthquakes near Ridgecrest


Two strong earthquakes in SoCal

A recount of some of the structural damage and lessons learned.

Watch the Video

Immediately Following an Earthquake

There’s a lot of misinformation out there, and you may get calls from confused clients about how to safely respond to an earthquake. Remember that the best way for you and your clients to survive an earthquake is to practice:

Encourage them to be prepared to take action in case of aftershocks, which are expected, especially in the week following a large quake.

Learn more about how to Drop, Cover, and Hold On in specific situations, such as for persons with disabilities, or if you’re in bed, driving, or outdoors.

We Have Your CEA Insureds Covered!

Please remind your clients that all CEA policies offer coverage for emergency repairs. This means they can take immediate steps to secure their property to avoid further damage.

If, as part of their CEA policy, they have Loss of Use—coverage that pays additional living expenses if they must live elsewhere due to earthquake damage— please remind them this coverage has no deductible.

Filing a Claim for Earthquake Damage

Probably most of the questions you’ll be getting from your clients will be about claim-filing procedures.

Fortunately, these insureds have already taken the correct first step in calling you.

When they do call, remind them that the two most important things they can do are document the damage (with photos and/or video) and keep a record of all earthquake-related communications and expenses. This means they should record names, dates, phone numbers and email addresses for their insurance-related interactions with you and with any contractors they hire. Similarly, they should hold on to all of their receipts for earthquake-related expenses.

CEA Has the Funds to Pay All Covered Claims

One important question you may be asked is: Can CEA cover my claim? The answer is yes. Because CEA is a publicly managed, not-for-profit state instrumentality, we are required to be financially sound.

CEA has more than $17 billion in claim-paying capacity. In other words, our careful fiscal management has put us in an excellent position to pay all covered claims related to this event. So your clients can rest assured: covered claims will be taken care of.

What About New Clients?

After a large earthquake, you won't just hear from your insureds, you'll also be contacted by potential new clients. As you review the benefits of earthquake insurance with these new customers, it's important to explain that no matter when coverage begins, it will not cover the aftershocks associated with this current seismic event. In other words, the seismic event commences upon the initial earthquake, and all earthquakes or aftershocks that occur within the 360 hours (15 days) immediately following the initial earthquake are considered for purposes of this policy to be part of the same seismic event.

We created a Q&A specifically for this topic to help explain it in detail. In the answer, we talk about how potential customers can still purchase a policy, and how the seismic event would work for current customers and their deductible.

Head on over to our FAQs to read more on the question “Can my customers buy a new CEA earthquake insurance policy after an earthquake?"

Need More Information?

As you strive to help your clients get back on their feet, remember that CEA is here to help you.

  • Explore the Agent Portal and CEA website for important information you can use to help your clients.
  • Follow us on Facebook and Twitter to get the latest updates on this event.
  • Contact the Information Desk at: (888) 423-2322

Additional Resources

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