Earthquake Damage? Discover How To Diagnose and Hire a Repair Contractor

In Southern California, earthquakes are a common occurrence, and they can cause significant damage to homes and buildings. Earthquake damage can manifest in various ways, and it’s important to be aware of the signs that your property may have been affected. In the event of damage, you may need to file an insurance claim and hire a contractor to repair the damage.

Here at GreatBuildz, a free service that connects homeowners in Los Angeles, Orange, Ventura, and San Diego Counties with reliable contractors, we speak to homeowners about how to deal with earthquake damage – here’s what you need to know about finding a reliable contractor.

In this blog post, we’ll discuss the types of earthquake damage, signs of earthquake damage, the earthquake insurance claim process, and what kind of contractor to call.

earthquake cause rubble on floor piled on building


Types of Earthquake Damage

​​Earthquakes can cause various types of damage to buildings and structures. Here are some types of earthquake damage you may encounter:

  • Foundation damage – The foundation of a building is responsible for supporting the weight of the structure. Earthquakes can cause the foundation to crack, shift, or settle.
  • Structural damage – Earthquakes can cause significant damage to a building’s structural components, such as walls, columns, beams, and roofs. This type of damage can lead to partial or complete collapse of the building.
  • Other/cosmetic damage – Earthquakes can also cause non-structural damage to buildings, such as broken windows, cracked tiles, and damaged walls. While this type of damage may not pose an immediate threat to the safety of the occupants, it can still be costly to repair.

It’s important to note that the extent of earthquake damage can vary depending on various factors such as the magnitude of the earthquake, the distance of the building from the epicenter, and the quality of construction materials and techniques used.

foundation cracks in ground from earthquake

Signs of Earthquake Damage

Earthquake damage can manifest in various ways, and it’s important to be aware of the signs that your building or structure may have been affected by an earthquake. Here are some signs of earthquake damage in the home:

  • Cracks in walls, floors, or ceilings – Cracks in these surfaces are one of the most common signs of earthquake damage. These cracks can be either horizontal, vertical, or diagonal, and they may be visible on both the interior and exterior of the building.
  • Doors and windows that don’t open or close properly – Earthquakes can cause a building to shift on its foundation, which can cause door and window frames to become misaligned.
  • Leaning or tilting walls or chimneys – If you notice that a wall or chimney is leaning or tilting, it may be a sign that the building’s foundation has been damaged by an earthquake.
  • Water leaks – Earthquakes can damage plumbing and water lines, causing leaks to develop. If you notice any water stains on walls or ceilings, it could be a sign of earthquake damage.
  • Cracks in the foundation – Cracks in the foundation of a building are a serious sign of earthquake damage. If you notice any cracks in the foundation, it’s important to have them inspected by a professional as soon as possible.

door peeping outside

The Earthquake Insurance Claim Process

If you have earthquake insurance and your house has been damaged by an earthquake, here’s an overview of the steps of the typical earthquake insurance claim process:

  • Contact your insurance company – The first step is to contact your insurance company as soon as possible to report the damage. Be prepared to provide detailed information about the damage, including the date and time of the earthquake and any photos or videos you may have.
  • Schedule an inspection – Your insurance company will likely send an adjuster to inspect the damage and assess the cost of repairs. Make sure to provide the adjuster with any documentation, such as repair estimates or receipts, to support your claim.
  • Receive a settlement offer – Once the insurance company has completed its investigation, it will provide you with a settlement offer. This offer will outline the amount of money the insurance company is willing to pay for the damages based on your policy coverage and deductibles.
  • Receive payment – If you agree to the settlement offer, your insurance company will issue a payment for the damages. Keep in mind that the payment may not cover the full cost of repairs, depending on your policy coverage and deductibles.

The exact earthquake insurance claim process can vary depending on your insurance company and policy coverage. Be sure to review your policy carefully and ask your insurance company any questions you may have about the claims process.

black and white earthquake damage

What Kind Of Contractor To Call For Earthquake Damage

If your property has been damaged by an earthquake, you may need to hire a contractor to repair the damage. The type of contractor you’ll need to call will depend on the type of damage that has occurred and the kind of restoration required. Here are some types of contractors you may need to contact:

  • General contractor – A general contractor can manage the repair process and hire subcontractors as needed to repair various types of earthquake damage. They can oversee the project from start to finish and ensure that all work is completed to code.
  • Roofing contractor – If your building’s roof has been damaged by an earthquake, you may need to hire a roofing contractor to repair or replace the damaged roof.
  • Plumbing contractor – If your building’s plumbing has been damaged by an earthquake, you may need to hire a plumbing contractor to repair or replace damaged pipes or fixtures.
  • Electrical contractor – If your building’s electrical system has been damaged by an earthquake, you may need to hire an electrical contractor to repair or replace damaged wiring or fixtures.

When hiring a contractor for earthquake damage repair, it’s important to choose a licensed and insured professional with experience in earthquake damage repair. Be sure to get multiple estimates, check references, and review their qualifications before making a hiring decision.

contractors working on building exterior

The Inspection and Bidding Process: What to Expect

If you have earthquake damage to your property and need to have it repaired, the inspection and bidding process typically involves the following steps:

  • Initial inspection – The first step is to have a professional inspect the damage to your property. This could be an engineer, contractor, or other qualified professional. The inspector will assess the damage and provide an estimate of the repair costs.
  • Request for bids – After the initial inspection, you’ll need to obtain bids from contractors for the repair work. You can request bids from multiple contractors to ensure you’re getting a fair price.
  • Contractor walk-through – Before submitting their bids, some contractors may want to conduct a walk-through of the property to get a better idea of the scope of the work needed. This allows them to provide a more accurate bid.
  • Bid review – After you’ve received bids from multiple contractors, review each bid carefully. Make sure each bid includes a detailed description of the work to be done, the materials to be used, and the total cost of the project.
  • Contract signing – Once you’ve selected a contractor, you’ll need to sign a contract outlining the scope of work, materials to be used, and the total budget of the project. The contract should also include a timeline for the work to be completed and any warranties or guarantees offered by the contractor.

If you want to skip the process of finding the perfect contractor for your needs, let GreatBuildz step in to help you out. Just share what you’re looking for, and we’ll match you with a reliable, pre-vetted contractor experienced in earthquake damage in the Los Angeles, Orange County, or Ventura County areas. Contact us today at (818.317.3567) or visit our website to learn more.


Hi, we're Paul and Jon - Co-Founders of GreatBuildz. We believe everyone deserves to find a great contractor, have a stress-free renovation, and enjoy their beautiful new space. There are so many contractors out there and it's often hard to tell the good from the bad... until it's too late. We started our company to help simplify your contractor search and help you have a stress-free renovation experience. We're always available to help, no matter where you are in the process. Click here to learn more about our story.

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