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Westlake Village, CA



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This might be an unwelcome reminder, but we live in earthquake country. That fact has been hard to escape lately with the number of recent stories and articles discussing the odds of a major quake hitting Southern California, and how many communities sit atop active faults.

Most of our clients are well aware of the danger lurking beneath the earth, and it's why so many of them ask us whether they should insure their homes against earthquake damage.
Like most insurance, it's a matter of risk versus expense. Is it worth the risk to go without earthquake insurance to save the expense of paying for it?

For most of us, our house is not only our home and all that means to us, but it's also the single biggest investment of our lives. Is it worth protecting? We think so.

We don't buy insurance coverage just to protect us from likely occurrences. We buy it to guard against unlikely and financially devastating events. Take life insurance, for example. Most of us don't expect our families to need it. Not having coverage, however, could mean a financial nightmare for our families if the unlikely should happen and a breadwinner dies prematurely.

Only 15 to 20 percent of California homeowners carry earthquake insurance. That's a mistake. The Northridge earthquake cost more than $25 billion in 1994. The damages were so bad it forced several insurance carriers to pull out of California because of their losses. That should tell you something about how financially devastating a quake could be for you personally.

Like any insurance purchase decision, you need to shop carefully for the right earthquake policy because you have options. The California Earthquake Authority (CEA) offered by the state provides coverage for your dwelling but little else (minimal personal property coverage & living expenses while displaced). Also, there is some concern that if the losses were high enough, the CEA would run out of money to pay for claims. Other more viable options are GeoVera Insurance Company and Axis Reinsurance Company (through Arrowhead), which offer more comprehensive coverages than the CEA. GeoVera and Axis can also offer a 10 percent deductible in some instances.

Earthquakes are not so much a matter of if, but when, and how big. Earthquake insurance can help make a major seismic event less of a tragedy and put your financial future on a firmer foundation.