Triple-I Weblog | Expensive California:As You Prep for Wildfire, Don’t Neglect Quake Danger


For people who live in earthquake-prone areas, it is important to remember that standard homeowners and renters do not cover most earthquake damage.

For this reason, Janet Ruiz, California-based director of strategic communications at Triple-I, advises people in the state to consider purchasing a policy that at least covers structure, building code upgrade, and emergency repairs.

“You can also cover additional living expenses and personal property, and some companies even cover damaged swimming pools or masonry veneer,” Ruiz wrote in a recent Op-Ed in the San Diego Union-Tribune.

As the earthquakes in South Napa and Ridgecrest in 2014 and 2019, respectively, are fading from memory and the readiness and resilience of wild fires seem the more urgent need, Ruiz reminds the Californians that even relatively light quakes can cause expensive damage. She therefore encourages residents to reduce their risk through education, mitigation and insurance.

There are a number of earthquake insurance policies available in California. Many participate in the California Earthquake Authority (CEA), but some non-CEA insurers also offer options to protect Californians from financial loss.

“CEA offers policyholders who have upgraded or strengthened their older homes premium discounts to help them withstand shocks better,” writes Ruiz.

In a separate Op-Ed, CEA CEO Glenn Pomeroy advises retrofitting older homes to make them more earthquake-proof and more resilient. Older homes – especially those built before 1980 – are more prone to seismic damage because they precede modern seismic building codes. According to US census data, this category includes more than 53 percent of housing units in San Diego County that were built before 1980 and may need retrofitting.

Seismic retrofitting can be straightforward and often not as expensive as homeowners might think. Typically, the work can be completed in a few days, depending on the type of retrofit required, with costs ranging from $ 3,000 to $ 7,000.

“Compared to the potential cost of repairing an earthquake damaged home,” writes Pomeroy, “a smaller amount of money to avoid damage can help avoid a much higher earthquake repair bill. Whatever it costs, it’s a relatively small price to pay to protect the value of your home and, more importantly, make it safer for your family. “

Pomeroy points out that the need for pandemic social distancing remains.