The costliest U.S. earthquake, the 1994 Northridge quake, caused $15.3 billion in insured damages when it occurred (about $25 billion in 2015 dollars). It ranks as the fifth costliest U.S. disaster, based on insured property losses (in 2015 dollars), topped only by Hurricane Katrina, the attacks on the World Trade Center, Hurricane Andrew and superstorm Sandy. Eight of the costliest U.S. quakes, based on inflation-adjusted insured losses, were in California, according to Munich Re. In 2015 the biggest earthquake to strike the United States was a magnitude 6.9 quake that occurred on July 27 southwest of Umnak Island, Alaska. There was no damage due to the remote location. Seismicity continued to rise in 2015 in the central United States, with 32 earthquakes of magnitude 4.0 and greater in Kansas, Oklahoma and Texas compared with 17 in 2014. A magnitude 5.0 quake east of Challis, Idaho, hit on January 3, 2015.
Top 10 Costliest U.S. Earthquakes By Inflation-Adjusted Insured Losses (1)
The previous chart ranks historic earthquakes based on their total insured property losses, adjusted for inflation. The chart below uses a computer model to measure the estimated impact of historical quakes according to current exposures. The 2012 analysis is based on AIR Worldwide's U.S. earthquake model. It makes use of the firm's property exposure database and takes into account the current number and value of exposed properties.
Estimated Insured Losses For The Top 10 Historical Earthquakes Based On Current Exposures (1)