WEST SENECA, N.Y. (WIVB) — Believe it or not, earthquake insurance is not automatically part of a New Yorker’s homeowner policy, according to AAA.

AAA offered some helpful facts after a 3.8-magnitude earthquake with an epicenter in West Seneca hit the region Monday morning.

“In many other states, earthquake insurance is offered, but in New York, it’s an optional endorsement that homeowners can add to their homeowners policy though the majority of area residents don’t opt for it,” AAA says.

The company says typically, a homeowner’s policy in New York will cover damage done by a fire or explosion that resulted from the earthquake, but without the optional endorsement, damage from a collapse or otherwise isn’t covered.

“The endorsement is costly enough that most people don’t opt for it, but after today’s quake, some residents may consider it affordable for peace of mind,” AAA says.

David Kirst is a senior insurance specialist for AAA and he says without adding the endorsement, no damage will be covered by the regular insurance policy. While many homeowners opt out, he says everyone should consider it.

“If you have a unique structure, or an older house or even some of the older homes that have stone or…block basements. Things along those lines that could crack or shift because of the earthquake all those things are things people should consider,” Kirst said.

If you rent a home or apartment, AAA says any structural damage is on the landlord to fix. Renters insurance would ensure the tenant has a place to stay in case the apartment or home is unlivable and needs repair.

How about damage to your car? AAA says comprehensive auto coverage “would cover damage from fallen bricks.”

“Comprehensive coverage is optional though it is included for leases or loans for new cars that are not yet paid off,” AAA says. “Some drivers with older cars that are paid off opt out of it. If bricks fell from a home in New York following an earthquake, the homeowner would need an earthquake endorsement on their insurance in order for the damage to be covered.”

Items in the home would not be covered by the normal insurance policy. Jacki Wiza of Lancaster says one mirror broke and fell off her mantel. She hasn’t considered adding the additional policy to her homeowners insurance, but if earthquakes become more regular, she might consider it.

“I think because they’re so rare, I don’t think I would yet and they’re not super powerful it doesn’t seem like. But if it starts happening more frequently, it’s definitely something to look into,” Wiza said.

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