Living With Disasters In California
There is no question living in California has many advantages including; the weather, beaches, and many other fun activities. But there are also risks like wildfires, floods, and earthquakes that make it important to have the right kind of personal insurance.
Interesting Wildfire Facts
- California and other western states are most associated with wildfires and, eight of the 10 costliest wildfires in the U.S. have occurred in California. The recent Campfire destroyed an entire community.
- Humans start 0ver 80 percent of wildfires
- Weather conditions can directly contribute to the growth wildfires through lightning strikes and high winds or indirectly by an extended dry seasons, spell or drought
- Many of the largest and most damaging wildfires in California’s recorded history have been in the past 10 years.
- Interesting Earthquake Facts
- San Francisco is slowing moving toward the city of Los Angeles at a rate of about 2 inches per year.
- Each year in the southern California region experiences about 9,000 earthquakes, most of them not felt by people or with any severe damage.
- Earthquake losses and claims are not covered under your standard homeowner’s insurance policy.
- The San Andreas Fault is about 800 miles long stretching from the Mendocino south to the San Bernardino Mountains.
How To Prepare For The Next Disaster
There are many actions you can do to reduce the chance of having a loss during the next disaster. Most importantly we recommend you have a complete personal insurance review. Our team of friendly and licensed professionals can review your policies and make recommendations as to what kind of coverage you may need to insure you and your family against common disasters founds in California.
- Use non-combustible siding and try to maintain an eight-inch ground-to-siding clearance
- Use fire-resistant plants and gardening materials to reduce spread of fires.
- Regularly clean your roof and gutters. This may keep debris from being ignited by wind-blown embers.
- Maintain six feet of non-combustible around your entire home. Keep a six-foot diameter space of gravel, stone, brick, or concrete in the area next to your home.
- Move boats, trailers/RVs and storage sheds from an area (preferable to a separate storage area), or build defensible space around these items. Remove shrubs under trees, prune branches that overhang your roof, thin trees, and remove dead vegetation by at least six feet.
- Develop an evacuation plan and share it with your family members
- Put together a “go bag” with items necessary to live for a day to two on your own.
- Locate a place in your home that you can go to when an earthquake starts. It should be a spot where nothing is likely to fall on you.
- Keep food supplies, and water for that can last a few days.
- If an earthquake begins get away from windows and other falling objects.
Does Homeowner’s Insurance Cover Wildfire Damage?
Damage as a result of wildfires would most likely be covered by your homeowner’s insurance or renter’s insurance. Your building or dwelling coverage can help pay wildfire damage that requires repairing or rebuilding your home; personal property coverage will replace your personal property that is destroyed in a wildfire.
One of the specific named perils covered in HO-2, or “named perils” insurance coverage and is also included in HO-3, or “broad form” insurance coverage. Fire damage could be covered even if the underlying cause of the fire is one of the perils specifically excluded from your homeowner’s policy. For example, if an earthquake in California which is not generally covered under HO-2 or HO-3 homeowner’s policy, knocks down an electrical line on your street and sets your home on fire, you would still be able to make a claim to your homeowner’s insurance and have it covered
A standard homeowner’s insurance may also provide coverage for additional living expenses (like food, a hotel, and transportation) if you’re required by local authorities to evacuate due to a wildfire.
Homeowner’s insurance may be more expensive in higher risk areas. It is important to read your homeowner’s insurance policy to fully understand the terms and conditions as well as your responsibilities.
Is Earthquake Damage Covered Under A Homeowner’s Policy
A standard homeowner’s and renter’s insurance does not cover loss due to an earthquake. A standard homeowner’s insurance policy will, however, generally cover losses from fire following a quake.
Personally owned cars and other vehicles are covered for earthquake damage under the optional comprehensive part of an auto insurance policy if you have purchased such coverage.
Earthquake coverage is available under a separate policy or an endorsement from most private insurers and, in California, from the California Earthquake Authority (CEA).
In California the risk for earthquake damage is higher than most other states, the not-for-profit California Earthquake Authority (CEA) offers coverage to homeowner’s for the structure or building, building code upgrades as well as emergency repairs. It also provides separate homeowners insurance options for personal property and also for additional living expenses.
All coverage discussions are for used as examples and are not to be considered providing insurance advice. All claims subject to the term and condition of your actual in the force insurance policy.