Earthquake Insurance in Ontario

Anthea Miscellaneous

Earthquake Coverage

Who needs it? After all, we live in Ontario right? Perhaps the recent frostquakes in Toronto may have you second-guessing.

While rare, between 1980 and 1998 some 13 earthquakes reached or exceeded 4.0 on the Richter Scale — in the Ottawa and St. Lawrence valleys alone! On May 23, 2000, an earthquake measuring 3.1 was recorded a few kilometres northwest of Oshawa. Tremors were felt in the Toronto area.

Here is video footage from an earthquake that hit Ottawa City Council on June 23, 2010.

What’s the Danger?

While no house in Canada has ever collapsed during an earthquake, falling objects pose the greatest danger. Walls can crack, and unreinforced masonry (e.g. brick walls and chimneys) can collapse. Vibrations may also cause some ground settlement under a house creating small cracks in basement walls.

Even though earthquakes are rare, if one occurs the results for you and your property can be devasting. Most home, farm and business policies do not cover damage caused directly by earthquakes. For your peace of mind, earthquake protection is usually available under a separate rider or policy, however such protection often includes a high deductible.

What to do if an earthquake strikes

  • If indoors, stay there. Take cover under a sturdy desk or table or stand in a door frame. Never use the elevator.
  • If outdoors, stay there. Keep away from power lines and buildings.
  • If in a vehicle, park away from buildings, bridges and overpasses. Ground shaking causes most earthquake damage. The Hollywood version of the hole in the ground, which opens up during an earthquake is a common misconception.

(Copyright: Staying in Touch 2000 – Volume Ten, Number Two)