Why Having Earthquake Insurance is So Important

By: Matt D Murren

If you reside in an area prone to earthquakes, have equity in your home, and you couldn’t afford to rebuild it on your own, buying earthquake insurances makes financial sense.? If you can afford it, the best way to protect the investment in your home is to retrofit your home and buy earthquake insurance. The more steps you take to retrofit and improve your home’s ability to resist the impact of an earthquake, the less likely you are to face expensive repairs.? Retrofitting your home includes, bracing your water heater, installing “sheer” panels and bolting your foundation. If you decide that your home needs protection beyond retrofitting, then shopping for earthquake insurance is your next step.??? Several key factors you should consider and research as to whether you buy insurance or not are:

v???? The amount of equity you have in your homev???? Your current proximity to a fault zonev???? The construction and age of your current homev???? The satisfaction ratings and financial strength of the insurance companies that will potentially sell you an earthquake insurance policy??Earthquake insurance policies are usually accompanied by high deductibles and premiums.? When the time comes to receive any benefits under your insurance policy, your claim needs to exceed your set deductible.? Most homeowners and auto insurance policies have a fixed dollar amount deductible.? Earthquake policies are different, their deductible is a percentage figure based on the total policy amount.? The damage to your home or structure must exceed your deductible to trigger a payment from your policy, and the payment will be the amount of repair costs above your deductible.? So on a home with $500,000 of coverage, and a 15% deductible, the homeowner will be expected to cover the first $ 75,000 of repairs.

??Your carrier will determine your premium.? Usually older homes cost more to insure than newer homes and retrofitting is required for homes built before 1955.? Premiums should not be the only thing you take into consideration when you are purchasing an earthquake insurance policy.? Often you can find policies with low premiums, but they are accompanied by poor coverage.?One important thing to keep in mind when shopping for earthquake insurance is that the insured value of your house is determined by your homeowners insurance.? If you are under insured on your homeowner’s policy, you will also be underinsured on your earthquake policy.? Purchasing earthquake insurance can be a difficult decision.? People who live in the Bay Area of California have a 75% chance of a 6.0 magnitude or greater earthquake hitting them, but only about? 14 % of CA residents carry earthquake insurance.?? If you decide to buy earthquake insurance, place your limit so that it is adequate to completely replace your property, any outbuildings, cover any engineering costs, and temporary living expenses that you may have.?

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