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Earthquake Damage to a Home

Should I Buy Earthquake Insurance in California?

California is no stranger to earthquakes. The Golden State experiences two to three major quakes with magnitudes of 5.5 or higher each year. Given the preponderance of quakes, California homeowners should seriously consider whether or not to purchase earthquake insurance.

Earthquakes occur rampantly around the world. The US National Earthquake Information Center reports 12,000 to 14,000 earthquakes annually across the globe. Although Alaska holds the title for the biggest and most earthquakes in the US, California is not far behind.

What are the benefits of buying insurance?

By purchasing earthquake insurance, Californians protect their financial investments in their homes. Any property damaged by an earthquake is covered by earthquake insurance. Homeowners should be aware that the cost of structural repairs and reconstruction are covered by earthquake insurance.

Californians who live in low-risk areas will pay a lower premium for earthquake insurance. Homeowners in high-risk areas are likely to pay more in premiums. In either case, property owners are advised to obtain an earthquake insurance quote in order to make informed decisions.

What are the cons of purchasing earthquake insurance?

Homeowners-Insurance-Policy-DocumentThe downside to purchasing earthquake insurance is, clearly, the financial expense. But homeowners should evaluate whether the cost of premiums will be higher than rebuilding a home damaged by an earthquake. Homeowners might even take the risk that an earthquake will not hit close to home.

Since very few Californians pay for earthquake insurance, the premiums are naturally higher. This is due to the fact that insurers do not collect enough premiums to pay for risks associated with earthquakes. The goal of insurers is to collect enough premiums to cover earthquake-related claims.

If more California residents purchase earthquake insurance, the premiums are likely to go down. This is especially the case if there are long periods between earthquakes and related devastations. But as recently as July 2019, Ridgecrest (in the Mojave Desert) underwent an earthquake with a 7.1 magnitude.

Five hundred active faults and 15,700 known faults are present in California. There is a 99 percent chance that one or more earthquakes with a magnitude of 6.7 or greater will strike the Golden State. Government assistance may not always be available, putting the cost of rebuilding on the homeowner.

What damages are caused by quakes?

Earthquakes cannot be stopped. Californians, however, can take measures to protect the integrity of their properties. Building safe structures that meet building codes and being prepared for earthquakes are two strategies. Buying earthquake insurance is also a prudent decision for California homeowners.

The various levels of earthquake damage can impact the livability of a home. Buildings may be partially or completely destroyed. Homes may even collapse. Structural damage may occur to swimming pools, landscaping, and other personal property, leading to hazardous environments.

Gas leaks, which are invisible to the human eye, can result from earthquakes. Explosions and fire damage are not uncommon outcomes of quakes. Natural disasters that spontaneously erupt from earthquakes include landslides and avalanches. Earthquakes can trigger flash floods and tsunamis.

Damage to homes and personal properties are a direct result of earthquakes. Despite the public becoming increasingly aware of earthquake risks, only 10 percent of Californian’s buy earthquake insurance. This means 90 percent of the state’s residents lack adequate coverage.

Does insurance cover earthquake damage?

Similar to flood insurance from the National Flood Insurance Program, earthquake insurance is not a standard component of even the best homeowner’s insurance. Homeowners must purchase earthquake insurance separately or request that it be added to the insurance policy as an endorsement.

Given the aforementioned data about the likelihood of earthquakes in the Golden State, California properties have a high risk of being hit by earthquakes each year. Without insurance, residents must face the reality that they could lose their property or be unable to pay for necessary repairs.

What is an earthquake?

California is situated on the Pacific Plate, with part of it on the North American Plate. An earthquake occurs when two sides of a fault slip against each other. The ground shakes as waves of energy are released from the friction between the two plates.

In the Golden State, hundreds of faults have been identified. Approximately 200 of these are considered dangerous based on their slip rates. Over 70 percent of residential Californians live within 30 miles of a fault, where major ground shaking can take place in the next 50 years.

Earthquakes are measured by magnitude. Scientists use an updated version of the Richter scale for accurate measurements. For example, an earthquake with a magnitude of 6.0 releases 32 times greater energy than one with a 5.0 magnitude and 1,000 more energy than a 4.0 magnitude.

To illustrate the power of major earthquakes, homeowners should consider that an earthquake with a 6.0 magnitude releases an amount of energy equivalent to 6,270 tons of TNT. The energy is spread out over several miles in waves, rather than staying focused in one particular area.

California quakes are normally small in magnitude, but they make up for it in number. The Golden State undergoes more than 100 earthquakes each day. These smaller earthquakes cause little or no damage; however, each year the state experiences two to three earthquakes that cause major structural damage.

Reconstruction Services After an Earthquake

Construction-ServicesWhether you choose to purchase earthquake insurance or decide to assume the risks, reconstructing a property damaged by an earthquake is a homeowner’s priority. Rebuilding is always easier with assistance from a reputable, local reconstruction company, such as ServiceMaster EMT.

With a reliable team of project managers, handymen and carpenters, ServiceMaster EMT will quickly return your home to its pre-loss condition. Our process starts with a damage assessment, followed by an estimate. We consult with the homeowner about design and record all repairs.

In addition to stabilizing the building, ServiceMaster EMT provides a number of high-quality construction services. Our experienced technicians offer board up services, water removal, odor removal and backup power. An important benefit we offer is emergency reconstruction, 24 hours, 7 days a week.

Whether your California home suffers damage from earthquakes, floods, storms or fires, ServiceMaster EMT is prepared with skilled manpower and efficient processes to reconstruct your building.

Contact Us

Don’t hesitate to contact ServiceMaster EMT at 800-376-6678 for emergency reconstruction services in the Southern California area.

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