We often wrongly believe that we are safe from earthquakes in Quebec. That being said, most Quebecers live in what is considered to be medium or high seismic hazard zones. Does this come as a surprise? Here is our little earthquake guide to help you learn how to adequately protect yourself!
Completely unpredictable, earthquakes are “geological phenomena that cause vibrations on the surface of the ground”. These vibrations come from shocks or theformation of fractures in large rocks. In the rest of Canada, as is the case in Quebec, the shocks are generally of low intensity, but are relatively frequent. Across the country, about 5,000 earthquakes are recorded every year—about 13 per day!
Of course, certain regions of our province are more at risk of being affected by an earthquake than others. The main seismic zones in Quebec are
- The Western Quebec Seismic Zone
- Bas-Saint-Laurent and Côte-Nord
The Canadian government warns us that out of all of the natural disasters that could affect us, “a strong quake near one of Canada’s major urban areas would likely be the most destructive”. An earthquake with a magnitude of six on the Richter scale can, in fact, cause considerable damage. That is why it is important to protect your home and property.
Are You Covered for Earthquakes?
In general, earthquakes are part of the common exclusions in home insurance policies. However, a degree of nuance must be introduced here.
There are two types of damage that can be caused by earthquakes:
- Damage caused by a fire, an explosion, or smoke following an earthquake.
- Damage caused by the shock.
The first is generally covered by your underlying home insurance policy. The second is an exclusion in the underlying home insurance policy. However, it is possible to cover damage to your home caused by earthquakes by adding an endorsement to your policy. Call your broker to add earthquake coverage to your home insurance policy!
It is interesting to note that the shocks are usually what cause the damage following an earthquake. The closer together in time the vibrations and movements are, the greater the impact on structures. In fact, the materials used to build your home and its year of construction will be taken into consideration as risks when adding this endorsement because, while recent infrastructures meet certain “earthquake resistant” standards, this is not the case for older buildings.
This is what is most concerning to specialists: the “number of earthquakes has not increased, and they are not stronger, but there are more human and material consequences, because the population of the world is on the rise and there is more infrastructure” [our translation]. In other words, the consequences of earthquakes are becoming greater, and they need to be focused on.
To conclude, don’t forget that earthquakes are impossible to predict and are frequent in Quebec, despite what we may think. It is thus relevant to consider purchasing coverage for this disaster, especially when you live in a seismic hazard zone. If you have any questions about this subject, call your broker!