Bridget Alves                of Valencia

Blog - Full Service Real Estate Group, Inc

Earthquakes and fires and floods, oh my!

Bridget Alves - Monday, April 04, 2016

It’s always sad to see a story on the news about catastrophic floods or fires destroying neighborhoods and leaving people homeless. Some of these folks will have insurance policies with companies that aid them in purchasing a new home, or repairing their old one, but the unfortunate truth is that many do not. While there’s really no way to know if you’re ever going to end up being one of those unfortunate souls, there are ways to reduce the odds.


Flood maps

Here in Southern California, flash floods are a thing. They happen. To help keep your risk of winding up in the path of one, ask your real estate agent to show you the flood maps before you buy a home. Homes that are the most at-risk for water damage are those that are on ground that’s angled downhill. Also, check the grade of the lawns. Sometimes, the front and back yards are graded ever so slightly upwards from the house, which means that heavy rainfall will be funneled toward the home. If you find that your home has this problem, it’s possible to re-grade the yards to funnel water away from the house.


Know where the gas lines are

You’ll want to start by finding out where the main lines are that feed the houses in your area and how close in proximity your home is to them. Main lines sometimes explode, and if your home is located too close …


Second, you’ll want to know where the gas lines that feed your home run through your yard. Knowing where the gas lines are can help prevent little Timmy from accidentally severing a gas main while he’s digging for buried treasure in the front yard.


Assess the trees
Trees in the yard can be a beautiful thing, but during a storm, they can fall down and result in terrible damage. Also, the roots of trees planted too close to the home can damage the foundation or basement (if you have one). If you’re not sure about a particular tree in the yard, there are folks you can call that specialize in this sort of thing. An arborist or tree specialist will be able to help you out.

Is earthquake insurance worth it?

Bridget Alves - Monday, October 12, 2015

Last year, South Napa experienced a magnitude 6.0 earthquake that caused about a billion dollars’ worth of damage and destroyed 6 homes. Prior to that, California hadn’t experienced a major earthquake in decades; which is probably why so few homeowners have been purchasing earthquake insurance. About 20-years ago, one-third of California homeowners had earthquake insurance policies. That number has dwindled over time to about 9% today. Part of the reason for the drop is likely the fact that there were so few damaging earthquakes during the period. Another part is probably the cost: earthquake insurance can be expensive, and there’s no real guarantee it will ever come in handy.

What many folks don’t realize until it’s too late is that run-of-the-mill homeowner’s insurance doesn’t cover earthquakes. A person must purchase an additional earthquake policy or add one on to their existing homeowner’s police. Depending on the location and size of the home, the average cost of earthquake insurance in California can be anywhere from $800 per year to $5,000 per year – prompting many homeowners to wonder if it’s worth the cost.

Earthquake insurance usually has a high deductible cost associated with it, meaning that the homeowner will have to pay a pretty substantial amount out of their pocket before their insurer will pay out a claim. What many people don’t know, though, is that there are 2 kinds of earthquake insurance: structural insurance and personal property insurance. Structural insurance is the one that will pay out of the home is damaged, and usually includes a high deductible. Personal property insurance, though, often has a very reasonable deductible and is the one that will replace the things you own that were destroyed as a result of the earthquake. 

Ultimately, it’s up to you whether or not you want to purchase earthquake insurance for your home. It might be wise, at the very least, to check and see what the rate would be for your home and if you can fit it into your budget. According to the experts, California is set to experience a major earthquake in the coming years. But, hey, they’ve been saying that for decades, haven’t they?

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