5 Ways Homeowners Can Protect From Earthquakes

The devastation in Haiti and California's recent earthquake are reminders that preparedness is vital for all homeowners in earthquake zones. From the proper insurance to securing your home, we will take you through what you should consider in advance of an earthquake.

Earthquakes can strike at any time. Make sure you're prepared.Think you don't live in a earthquake zone? Don't be so sure. Do a Google search for "earthquake preparations" and one of the first hits you'll get, as unlikely as it might seem, will be the website for the state of Kentucky. Turns out four of the largest earthquakes in North America happened in this fault area between 1811 and 1812, with the shaking measuring as high as 8.0. Seismologists say it's possible another big one could hit there.

Are you in an earthquake zone without even knowing it? You might want to find out and then take the following precautions:

One of the basics is insurance, but most people don't have earthquake insurance-even in California. With the economy still in the early stages of a fragile recovery, and many households looking to cut back on non-essential expenses, some homeowners might be tempted to skimp on earthquake insurance. However, a good policy is an absolute necessity, especially in California.

Note, most basic home insurance will not cover earthquake damage-not even in the Golden State. However, in California it is mandatory that home insurance carriers offer earthquake insurance to would-be customers. There are a lot of options in these policies. So check around and you should be able to find the plan that suits your needs and your wallet.

Check For Hazards in Your Home
and Business
Are your heavy light fixtures well fastened? Have you anchored tall bookcases and propane tanks? Is your electrical wiring secure and up to date? These andother changes will increase your properties odds of surviving an earthquake in tact.

It's important to make your home as secure as possible. For example, if you have heavy pictures hanging over your bed or sofa, or other items that could do damage overhead, you might want to position them somewhere else. Seemingly small changes can make a big difference in safety and damage.

Take Pictures of Your Property
Update your property pictures when you remodel or get new expensive items. Even when you are insured, having photos can potentially expedite your claim process and you want to do all you can ahead of time. While it seems time consuming to go around taking pictures of your home, it can save a lot of time and money later. Also, make sure you store the pictures on a secure server, in case your home computer or laptop is not accessible.

Have Supplies Available
It's wise to have supplies like batteries, emergency radios, canned foods, first aid kits and water around the house for a range of emergencies, big and small. (Having them at the office isn't a bad idea either.) But also consider a fire extinguisher if you don't already have one. Even a small fire can do big damage to your property.

Check Damage Afterwards
After an earthquake, check your property for damage. If there is the smell of gas, shut off the main valve, and if electrical wiring appears to be damaged shut of the breakers. Do not try to fix any of these issues yourself, but shutting off power to these sources could prevent further damage. If you have to evacuate your home tell neighbors so they can keep an eye on it for you.
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