Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Everything you need to know

We’re on a mission to give people the financial jumpstart they need, when they need it. Questions about how our products work? Read on.

General information

Conventional earthquake insurance is designed to cover significant loss, but Jumpstart is different. Our goal is to quickly cover your immediate needs after the quake.

Even in a large quake, most damage is minor, and a total loss is the exception, as shown repeatedly in post-quake studies by the Earthquake Engineering Research Institute and others.

Use the money for any quake-related expense, such as:

  • Living Expenses
  • Replacing Broken Items
  • Moving Costs
  • Child/Elder Care
  • Home Repairs

The only things not covered are losses already paid by other insurance, and losses due to bodily harm. Oh, and earthquakes caused by nuclear explosions. (Seriously.) Other than that, you're the one who will best know your needs—the payment is yours to spend as you need to recover.

No. Each payment is deposited directly into your bank account.

At this time, we have only one limit of coverage ($10k). That said, every adult (18+) at a given location can buy a policy. Businesses can buy a policy for $20k of coverage. This includes home-based businesses.

The next Big One isn't a matter of "if" but "when."

Currently less than 20% of residents in California, Oregon, and Washington are insured for earthquakes, and because of deductibles, many fewer will experience a payout. In the 2014 South Napa earthquake, 40,000 households experienced strong shaking but fewer than 200 residential insurance claims resulted in payment because the losses experienced did not exceed the deductible.

When there's more money in the local economy, we all recover more quickly.

Jumpstart's innovative coverage has a low monthly premium, based on your zip code. Powered by USGS data, we determine the likelihood of a major earthquake affecting you in the future. Locations with higher earthquake risk have higher premiums.

Coverage Availability

Yes. Jumpstart is available to both renters and homeowners. Many renters will choose Jumpstart because the payment covers any extra expense, not just damage to your contents—moving expenses, daycare—whatever you need.

Yes. Jumpstart is available to both homeowners and renters. Many homeowners will choose Jumpstart because it can provide a quick cash infusion after a quake for whatever they need to recover—whether it's property repair, daycare, or anything else. Even if you already have other earthquake insurance, you can also buy Jumpstart.

Yes! Any business or non-profit can obtain a policy for each location that it owns or operates. A business can choose either $10,000 or $20,000 of coverage.

Yes. You can purchase Jumpstart for any locations that you live in or own.

Yes

Yes. The person paying the premium can be different from the person receiving the payment.

Claims/Payments

To ensure fast, fair payments, we use data from the United States Geological Survey, or USGS—the US government agency responsible for measuring earthquakes and a leading authority on seismic activity around the world.

This data allows us to objectively identify areas where customers are highly likely to have extra costs as the result of a quake.

Payment eligibility is based on shaking intensity. Specifically, locations that are coded on the USGS shake map as experiencing "severe" shaking–peak ground velocity of 30 centimeters per second or more—are eligible to receive payment.

The basis of determining payment eligibility is the USGS data available 24 hours after the quake occurs.

Peak Ground Velocity (PGV) measures shaking intensity, as opposed to strict magnitude. PGV is more accurate because it captures the increased shaking intensity in soft-soil areas.

We chose a PGV threshold of shaking that's intense enough to cause disruption - enough to "mess life up" and create extra expenses - but still low enough that it's plausible.

In California, our PGV threshold of 30 cm/sec corresponds to a Modified Mercalli Intensity of VII-1/2 which is roughly equivalent to the red zone on a USGS ShakeMap.

In Oregon and Washington, our PGV threshold of 20 cm/sec corresponds to a Modified Mercalli Intensity of VI-1/2 which is roughly equivalent to the yellow-orange zone on a USGS ShakeMap.

For shallow earthquakes, the smallest Richter Magnitude to cause this level of shaking is about M6. As a point of reference, the M 6.0 Napa earthquake in 2014 would have reached the 30cm/sec trigger in most of central Napa.

Using magnitude alone would exclude soft soil areas that are far away from the earthquake epicenter, but nevertheless could experience intense shaking.

This was the case in the 1989 Magnitude 6.9 Loma Prieta earthquake. The epicenter was near Santa Cruz, but some of the hardest-hit areas were 90 km away, in parts of San Francisco and Oakland that are built on soft soils.

Using PGV makes sure areas like this get included for payment eligibility.

After an earthquake occurs, if your location experiences the triggering shaking intensity, we send you a text message that asks if you expect to experience extra expenses. After you respond affirmatively, we initiate payment. We use text messaging because it's likely to be the first form of communication to start working after a disaster.

You can also provide your affirmative response by calling us (510-891-1753); emailing us (support@jumpstartinsurance.com); by logging into your account; through Facebook messenger; or by sending us a letter. A claim form will also be available on the website after a major earthquake.

You have 60 days to respond after the earthquake.

When you are eligible for payment and respond affirmatively, we authorize the full payment.

Earthquakes big enough to trigger payments will also be big enough to cause all sorts of unanticipated expenses, some of which won't become apparent until much later.

Based on our statistical analysis, we chose a payment amount that's a fraction of what most people will need. The payment is small enough that it's very unlikely to "make you whole." It's only intended to jump-start your recovery (thus the name).

As with all insurance, we reserve the right to randomly audit claims. If selected for audit, you will be asked to provide receipts, photographs, or other evidence of your losses. We will adjust the claim accordingly, and if the payment you received exceeds the adjusted amount, we reserve the right to require you to pay back the difference. We will also use audits to refine product offerings. Information about actual expenses may allow us to offer larger dollar-amount payments in the future.

  • Payment eligibility is based on shaking intensity.
  • Specifically, you will be eligible to claim payment as follows:
    In California, if your location on the USGS ShakeMap is in an area of "severe" shaking—peak ground velocity of 30 centimeters per second or more.
    In Oregon and Washington, if your location on the USGS ShakeMap is in an area of "very strong" shaking—peak ground velocity of 20 centimeters per second or more.
  • Data used to define payment eligibility are as reported by USGS 24 hours after occurrence.
  • Payments require you to confirm that you will experience extra expenses due to the earthquake of $10,000 or more, and that you still own or live at the address listed on your policy.
  • If you receive a payment from a main shock, you won't be eligible to receive an additional payment in an aftershock, even if that aftershock meets the aforementioned criteria.

See full policy for detailed terms.

We would love an opportunity to resolve any issue you might be having. Call us at 510-891-1753, tap on the chat box, or email us at support@jumpstartinsurance.com. If you need to file a formal complaint with the Department of Insurance, instructions for doing so can be found on the relevant website.

Our Team

Jumpstart was founded in 2015 by Kate Stillwell, whose career is all about improving our resilience as a society.

Kate is a former president of Structural Engineers Association of Northern California and longtime fellow at the Earthquake Engineering Research Institute.

Today we are a small team of highly committed specialists and licensed insurance agents, based in Oakland, California.

Jumpstart is a surplus lines insurance broker working in full compliance with applicable insurance regulations. The insurance described here is effected with certain Underwriters at Lloyd's, London.

Lloyd’s is the world’s leading insurance and reinsurance marketplace. Through the collective intelligence and risk-sharing expertise of the market’s underwriters and brokers, Lloyd’s helps to create a braver world.

The Lloyd’s market provides the leadership and insight to anticipate and understand risk, and the knowledge to develop relevant, new and innovative forms of insurance for customers globally.

It offers the efficiencies of shared resources and services in a marketplace that covers and shares risks from more than 200 territories, in any industry, at any scale.

And it promises a trusted, enduring partnership built on the confidence that Lloyd’s protects what matters most: helping people, businesses and communities to recover in times of need.

Lloyd’s began with a few courageous entrepreneurs in a coffee shop. Three centuries later, the Lloyd’s market continues that proud tradition, sharing risk in order to protect, build resilience and inspire courage everywhere.

For information on the financial strength ratings of Lloyd’s, please click here.

For more information on Lloyd’s, visit www.lloyds.com.

Jumpstart's mission is "to increase economic stimulus following natural disasters such as earthquakes.” Basically, we're trying to get more money flowing into our communities when we need it most.

Jumpstart is a Benefit Corporation founded with the social mission to increase financial resilience of our communities.

We exist to increase economic stimulus after a natural disaster - it's in our corporate DNA (literally our articles of incorporation)—we are here to get more money into people's hands when they need it most.

We use the strongest browser encryption available, and store all of our data on servers in a secure facility.

We protect the privacy of your information and will never share your data with any third party without your permission. For more information, please review our privacy policy.

Support

See full policy for detailed terms.

We email your electronic policy when you sign up and again each year. In addition, it's available in your account status. Simply log in. From there, you can print out a PDF if you need a paper copy.

Yes, log in and navigate to Your Account page to update information.

Please note, that changing the insured person or location will result in a new policy that replaces the current policy. For a new location, the new premium amount may differ.

Unless you tell us otherwise, your policy will renew with no action required from you. We will send you an annual reminder that your policy will renew.

You can cancel at any time with no penalty. Simply call us at 510-891-1753 or click on the chat box at the bottom right corner of this page. We will cancel your policy that day and issue a pro-rated refund.

Click on the chat box at the bottom right corner of this page, or email us at support@jumpstartinsurance.com and we'll respond quickly.

Jumpstart was perfect for us. Within our price range. And enough to cover us as a bridge if something should happen. They don’t require documentation. Just respond to their text and you get the money you need.

James
JamesSan FranciscoCustomer since 2019

If an earthquake hits in our area, I want to be able to know without any question that those first few days are handled, and my kids never feel afraid.

Anne
AnneOaklandCustomer since 2019

I chose Jumpstart because it offered me coverage that fit my needs and the process was easy and the price was right.

Tomantha
TomanthaOaklandCustomer since 2018

If there's an earthquake, you know there's going to be cash in your bank.

Frank
FrankBerkeleyCustomer Since 2018