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Secure Your Home with Earthquake Loss Control Measures

And, it’s not just a “California thang” any longer!

Following is an article that addresses measures you can take to secure your home in the event of moderate to severe earthquakes.  This is courtesy of our friends at IRMI (International Risk Management Institute).

Earthquake insurance is a smart coverage option.  Still, we know most of you will not purchase it.  While that makes absolutely no sense, financially philosophically, if you aren’t going to buy the coverge, please at least focus on reducing your damages in the event of a quake.  Here are some risk control tips (authored by the City of Los Angeles Department of Building and Safety) for you to consider, particularly if you don’t purchase earthquake insurance.

For homes and commercial structures, the foundation, a common area of structural weakness, needs to be thoroughly examined for weaknesses. When concrete foundations are older they may become crumbly or porous; then, they lack the strength to resist earthquakes.

Unreinforced brick or stone masonry structures may need to be strengthened or replaced. An engineer is required by most communities to design these types of repairs. Signs of insect damage and dry rot in the wood need to be checked. Hiring a structural pest control expert and repairing water leaks may be necessary.

Older homes in earthquake-prone areas may not be bolted to their foundations.  Anchor bolts can be installed by capable home owners relatively inexpensively with the proper knowledge and tools. Otherwise, a foundation contractor should perform this task.  

Bracing materials within the foundation should also be inspected. Weak bracing materials (e.g., cement plaster or wood siding) may have been used in the construction process. Stronger bracing materials such as plywood are necessary to support the cripple wall (the cripple wall is the short wall that connects the foundation to the first floor of the house and encloses the crawl space.)  For homes built on a slope or even a slight grade, extra strengthening may be necessary.

Experts indicate that retrofitting most single-family homes costs between $3,500 and $7,000. Homeowners who perform some of this work themselves pay less – and are less likely to sustain structural damage in the event of a larger quake.

And, for you savvy investors, here is a great bit of information!  Studies show that properly strengthened homes are safer to live in and easier to sell (can you say asset preservation?). A study of the aftermath of the Northridge earthquake of 1994, which caused between $13 billion and $20 billion in property damage, indicated that strengthened homes stayed on their foundations in the same neighborhoods where unstrengthened homes failed to do so.

So, get that home secured!  And, for more financial security, check out the cost of Earthquake Insurance.  Rates have actually lowered in the past 2 years, and thus it is becoming (in most cases) more affordable.

Insuring Your Success!

Stan Dreckman,
Huggins Dreckman Insurance


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