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When is the Next Big Quake?

iStock_000010850491_SmallFor those of us living in California, earthquakes are just a part of life. On any given day we might experience a small earthquake, but life quickly returns to its regular routine. Small, harmless earthquakes are so common that many of us have forgotten how devastating a large one can be!

In California, only about 12 percent of homeowners carry earthquake insurance on their homes. Each year, more and the premiums too large for their budgets.

But according to the US Geological Survey, there is a 70 percent chance that an earthquake of 6.7 magnitude or greater (on the Richter scale) will hit California in the next 30 years. In particular, geologists singled out the San Francisco bay area as a high-risk zone, although we know Los Angeles and San Diego are also areas of concern.

So it appears to be a matter of when, not if, a major earthquake will strike. And yet, so many California homes remain unprotected by earthquake insurance!

Shopping around for earthquake insurance policies is the best way to find your lowest premium. But keep in mind that you should never purchase any form of homeowners insurance based on the market value of your home, which can fluctuate according to economic conditions. Instead, shoot for coverage that will pay for replacement of your home. After all, the point is to get you back in a safe home, equal in quality to the one you lost, after a major disaster such as an earthquake.

Since major earthquakes tend to be catastrophic events when they do occur, make sure your earthquake insurance policy also covers your home’s contents. Also check your policy to see if it pays for living expenses in the event that the home is unsafe to inhabit after the disaster.

It may seem like a long shot, but chances are good that we will see another major earthquake event sometime in the near future. Make sure your home and family are protected by an adequate earthquake insurance policy.