What to do after an earthquake

What to do after an earthquake to keep safe, to protect your property and how to get your insurance claims started.

A building is damaged from an earthquake.

Earthquakes can be scary, but the danger doesn't end when the shaking stops. Even if you've prepared for an earthquake, there are several actions that you should take after an earthquake stops to keep you and your family safe and protect your property.

What to do after the earthquake

In the immediate aftermath of an earthquake, you and your family's safety should be your top priority. When it seems like the shaking has stopped you should:

  • Get to a safer spot: After the earthquake, this will usually mean getting outdoors and away from any buildings that may fall on you. While getting to a safer spot, be on the lookout for gas leaks, downed power lines or flammable liquid spills .
  • Check for injuries: The quicker you can get attention for injuries, the better. If you have your earthquake bag with you, a first-aid kit will be helpful.
  • Be aware of aftershocks: Aftershocks can continue for a long time after an earthquake so don't assume that it is safe to go back to your home. The aftershocks may even be stronger than the original quake.
  • Get informed: Local media will likely have emergency broadcasts with damage information and rescue centers.

Inside the house

When entering your home after an earthquake, you should be extremely careful. Damage to the building may not be apparent to the eye and you need to watch each step. You should also have an exit route planned in case of an aftershock. Be on the lookout for:

  • Damaged walls, floors, doors and staircases;
  • Gas leaks, which may be apparent by smell or hissing sounds;
  • Electrical system damage;
  • Sewage, water line damage;
  • Loose drywall, plaster or ceilings that can fall.

How to start a claim after an earthquake

When you reenter your home, you should try to take pictures of the damage and contents for insurance claims. If you have created a home inventory, it will help you identify what is damaged or missing. You'll want to start your claim as soon as possible to receive your help in a timely manner. If you are a State Farm customer, you may be able to start your claim online.

An earthquake is a scary event, but if you've prepared, know how to stay safe and know what to do afterward, you can minimize your danger and protect your home. Contact a State Farm® agent for more information or to review your insurance policy to make sure you have the coverage you need.

The information in this article was obtained from various sources not associated with State Farm® (including State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Company and its subsidiaries and affiliates). While we believe it to be reliable and accurate, we do not warrant the accuracy or reliability of the information. State Farm is not responsible for, and does not endorse or approve, either implicitly or explicitly, the content of any third party sites that might be hyperlinked from this page. The information is not intended to replace manuals, instructions or information provided by a manufacturer or the advice of a qualified professional, or to affect coverage under any applicable insurance policy. These suggestions are not a complete list of every loss control measure. State Farm makes no guarantees of results from use of this information.
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