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Four Steps that will Reduce your Financial Risk in the Event of an Earthquake


By Victoria Collins

Be honest - when you heard recently about the 6.0 earthquake, the worst in 25 years, hitting Napa, did you 1) double-check the disaster supplies you have stored in a safe place or 2) think about checking your supplies or 3) tell yourself “I really should do something to prepare” and left it at that.

It’s easy to procrastinate around disaster preparedness. We don’t like to think about the worst happening. I don’t know how many of you lived through the Laguna Beach fires but I did and I’ll tell you a bit of preparedness helps. Like insurance, you have it but hope you never need it.

Let’s make it easy with four steps that will reduce your financial risk in the event of an earthquake. Of course, this is after you have the food, water, batteries, survival supplies, propane lamp and stove, ax, hammer, etc. stored safely. For a complete list of what you’ll need to survive for 3 days, go to Disaster Supply Checklist

To mitigate your financial risk from a disaster:

  1. Consider earthquake insurance. It’s important to note that quake coverage is not included in a standard homeowner’s policy. The deductible is based on a percentage of your overall policy limit and is usually around 15%. Personal possessions are covered only to a set dollar amount and it’s usually a small number and there are more exclusions than in the standard policy. Loss of use coverage is lower than you would expect and the cost of earthquake insurance coverage is generally expensive. Consider carefully whether the benefit is worth the expense. For more on this read 8 Things you should know.

  2. Stash cash as part of your plan – remember ATM’s may not be working and vendors may not be able to process credit cards in a true catastrophe, so have some cash. Dollars, fives, tens and 20’s are easier to use than 100’s when you don’t have change available. Keep cash and duplicate ID and insurance information. Handy with your disaster kit. Here are some ideas for stashing cash.

  3. Prepare a “What if” contingency plan in a binder or digital format with account information, passwords, names and contact info of your professional advisors. Send it to a family member living outside of your area who may not be affected by the same natural disasters.

  4. Photograph or video an inventory of the belongings in your home. It’s so easy with your phone or iPad.

To borrow from the Nike ad we all know. Don’t put “preparing’ off any longer, JUST DO IT.

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