Earthquakes!!! Earthquake insurance is available in California, and it is not required for any purchaser of a single family or residential home in San Francisco. The policies are often described as expensive (they are) and they are also generally written with a high deductible (20%-ish is common).
Earthquakes are (for a human lifespan) relatively rare and completely unpredictable. Maybe that is just a random Matt observation, but for whatever reason most Californians don’t have earthquake insurance.
In condo buildings, individual owners pay dues into a Homeowner’s Operation Association (HOA) account, a portion of which are used to cover the hazard/liability/fire insurance on everything the HOA owns and is responsible for: the building structure, common areas, and everything but the “walls-in” portion of the condominium which is individually owned. Condo building policies are commercial policies issued to a commercial entity, in this case the HOA.
Earthquake insurance in a condo building is a collective HOA decision, not an individual decision. While you may be able to insure your contents and personal property with an earthquake rider to your HO-6 policy. Individuals can’t insure the structure or any portion of the structure with earthquake insurance. It’s an all or nothing HOA decision, and because of the impact on monthly dues, most HOAs in SF choose not to insure against earthquakes.
In single family homes, you have the individual choice as the owner if you want to get earthquake insurance. It is not required by any governmental entity, and I’ve also never heard of a bank requiring it as a condition of a loan, unlike hazard insurance which is a typical loan condition.
Single family homes are everywhere in SF, mostly on the western and southern sides. Condos are also found all over SF, with the larger buildings mostly found in the central and eastern half of the city.
Disclaimer: This list is based on a search of published building amenities. An HOA may choose to start or stop earthquake insurance at any time based upon a vote of the building owners. This map is not definitive, is subject to errors or omissions, and you should not rely on it without doing additional research. But we hope you enjoy it.
Building List of known buildings/developments/condo associations that include earthquake insurance on the building structure:
It may change at anytime, so please do additional research if this amenity is important to you as you evaluate a condo building. We have pages about condo buildings for over 235, but not all, condo associations and buildings in San Francisco. We have a page that dynamically lists the larger SF condo buildings with earthquake insurance on our site, but many of the buildings in the below list are smaller condo associations with less than 40 homes: