Besides our August 2014 quake, there is a seven out of 10 chance that Napa gets hit with “The Big One” sometime in the next 30 years. If we do, thousands will be homeless. You could lose everything. This is a sobering fact.
Why do so few homeowners have earthquake insurance?
Only 5.3 percent of Napa county homeowners have earthquake insurance. That’s compared to 12 percent of all California homeowners who have an earthquake insurance policy. There are five common reasons I hear for not having earthquake insurance.
Let me answer each of these objections:
“My homeowners insurance covers earthquake, right?”
Wrong. Your homeowners insurance almost never covers earthquakes. The exception is that most policies cover fire damage after an earthquake, as in the case of the mobile homes that caught fire in the South Napa Earthquake. I’m still surprised at how many of my friends and neighbors still think that they are covered by their homeowners policy for quake damage.
“I can’t afford it.”
Earthquake insurance is not cheap. I won’t argue that. For example, premiums for a $400,000 one story home in Napa can range from $1,500-$2,000 a year or more, depending on deductibles and optional coverage choices. For many homeowners, this is a lot of money. But compared to the total loss of your home when the Big One hits, it’s a small price to pay.
“The deductible is too high.”
I agree. The deductible is high. The typical CEA (California Earthquake Authority) deductible is 15 percent of the insured amount of your home. This is a lot of money to come up with before a claim gets paid. However, if an area is declared a Federal Disaster, as Napa was in 2014, grants and loans become available to help with your deductible. Deductibles should never be a reason to neglect earthquake coverage.
“The government will bail me out.”
No it won’t. Even though Napa received more than $30 million from the federal government last year to help with the damage, that help was spread out among 550 homeowners and businesses. The grants and loans were designed to help — not to totally rebuild. Most of that financial assistance was in the form of loans, which must be repaid. The government will not rebuild your home.
“It won’t happen to me.”
Not many people actually say this. But they might think it. However, the facts say otherwise. According to the CEA, there is a 68 percent chance of a 7.0 earthquake in Northern California sometime in the next 30 years. That’s an earthquake 10 times more powerful than the one we experienced in 2014. A quake far worse than last year’s disaster is not just possible; it’s likely.
You need earthquake insurance.
The Big One is coming. Its little brother, the 2014 South Napa Earthquake, reminded us of that. It’s not a question of “if.” It’s only a question of when. Talk to your agent about earthquake insurance today.
Don’t put it off.