Most Californians Shun Quake Insurance
|By Steve Johnson, San Jose Mercury News|
|McClatchy-Tribune Information Services|
The reason, say experts and some homeowners: the high cost of coverage, the quarter century lapse in a major quake until Sunday's shaker in
"You think about it after the earthquakes," said 44-year-old
Despite having major damage to glassware and other breakable items in his kitchen during Sunday's quake, he added, he's still probably not going to get a quake policy because "it's expensive and major quakes happen so infrequently, it seems like a luxury more than a need."
Many other people share that view, said
"It's out of sight, out of mind." Because it had been so long since a major temblor rocked
<p> Less than 6 percent of homeowners in
Aside from the length of time since the last major quake, the cost of coverage is another big reason many people shun insurance.
To be covered for earthquake damage other than fire, homeowners typically need an earthquake policy in addition to their homeowner's insurance, and the average annual cost of earthquake premiums statewide is
For example, if a person with a 10 percent deductible has insured their home for
If a person assumes their house might never sustain more than
"If they make a decision to not purchase earthquake insurance, they will be on the hook themselves for what may be their most valuable asset and will be responsible for 100 percent of the cost if a damaging earthquake struck," said the Earthquake Authority's Pomeroy.
Another common reason people avoid getting quake insurance is because they figure federal officials will come to the rescue with financial assistance after a major shaker. But even if the federal government offers help to those affected by the
"Federal and state funds alone are unlikely to be enough to get your life back to its pre-disaster condition," warns an Earthquake Authority brochure.
One more factor in the relatively low rate of homeowners who buy earthquake insurance might be confusion, said
"The earthquake policies are complicated," he said. "So people will read them and say, 'I don't know what I'm getting out of this.'"
Even so, the
"Most definitely," said
Quake insurance coverage
Here is the percentage of homeowners with quake insurance in
Marin -- 18.3 percent
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