At least, it’s not a shake down! Today hosts another Shake Out program, where a few million Californians will duck & cover to practice Earthquake safety drills and bring awareness (like we need it) to Californians that while we live in Paradise, Mother Nature will tease us occasionally with quakes of all sizes.
It is important to know that, while Homeowners policies are perhaps the most broadly formed contract in all of insurance, there still are certain exclusions that apply to all policies, all over the country. Included in those are Earthquake Exclusions (now often called Earth Movement so as to create as broad an exclusion as possible) and Flood Exclusions, which we recently noted in our social media notices (like us on Facebook, and learn!).
And, not only are we in California subject to quakes, our friends in Oregon, Washington, and parts of Missouri, Oklahoma, Texas and New Jersey (actually, the entire East Cost is subject to quakes) have been experiencing earthquakes as well. It behooves all of us to be aware of what to do (seek shelter) and to be prepared for an earthquake’s aftermath.
The relative small nature of a magnitude 6.0 quake (on the small size of a large quake) that struck Napa, California, this year is a good demonstration that it doesn’t take much to cause millions in damage. Your government will not always come to the rescue, contrary to popular myth, and if they will, it might be too little too late.
Remember, the unaltered Homeowner’s policy, as noted above, excludes damage from Earthquakes. And, in California and the West in general, the coverage is only obtained through an additional policy and not an endorsement to the Homeowner’s policy. So, you need to actively request the coverage. Call your agent (call us!) for a quote.
As for preparation for a quake, the California Department of Insurance notes, in a press-release today, that the majority of quakes are moderate and cause damage and injury when furniture and belongings tumble and break. For about $100, the average person can protect themselves and their family by using Velcro appliance and furniture straps, cabinet latches and quake putty to secure those items that fall and break during a quake. So, look around your homes and businesses, and see what you can easily secure in order to prevent injuries.
Along with the above suggestions, here are a few more that you can use, courtesy of the Red Cross and Salvation Army:
* Identify hazards in your home, such as frayed wires or large amounts of gasoline stored in the garage. Hazards should be reduced as much as possible.
* Learn First Aid and CPR skills, which can lessen injuries after they occur.
* Make certain your children learn your full name, address, and phone number at the earliest possible age.
* Develop an emergency evacuation plan. For example, you should work with family members to establish escape routes and rehearse these periodically.
* Establish a disaster meeting place and an outside family contact. For a sudden emergency, a location right outside the home should be arranged.
* Consider designating a friend or relative in another city as a common contact through whom the family can communicate if separated by a disaster.
* Keep an adequate water storage supply to use in the event you become stuck in your home. Several days' worth of bottled water should be stored in a cool, dark location.
* Prepare a food supply, including canned meats, fruits, and vegetables. You should include a manual can opener and disposable utensils and plates along with the food.
* Store emergency supplies, such as a first aid kit, flashlights, batteries, prescriptions, and a lantern.
* Prepare a portable pet disaster supply kit for pets, including dry food, potable water, and proof of vaccination. Proper identification on the pets is essential.
* Practice, modify, and maintain the plan every 6 months.
Don’t be scared – be prepared!