House of Rock n’ Roll: Home Earthquake Readiness
Welcome my fellow Shakers! In our yearly celebration of the earthquake drill, we would like to point out the very thing above your head… YOUR HOME!
Do you know how well it will hold up, or will it most likely come crashing down around your head? There are so many things that you can do to mitigate the costs and damages to one of your most basic needs, shelter.
Raise your hand if you’ve actually read your insurance policy word for word, front to back. Yeah, probably just skimmed it like the rest of us. Time to go back for a good read through. Chances are earthquakes aren’t covered.
Surprise! Just like flood insurance you have to buy that separately. If you live in a high risk zone, you REALLY need to rethink your insurance policy. The whole point of earthquake insurance is monetary. You can skip insurance now to save money and then continue paying a mortgage on a pile of rubble when an earthquake hits. OR (my vote lies here) pay a little extra each month and have no mortgage and the money to rebuild/repair after an earthquake hits. It’s a no-brainer. You can even add the payment to your mortgage payments like regular insurance.
Earthquake Insurance costs are based on:
- Insured value of the home
- Age (older = higher)
- Construction type (manufacture vs stick built, masonry and brick cost more as well)
- Your carrier
- Your deductible
We have come a long way in building construction and engineering, especially in the area of seismic activity. Smart men and women with way more brains than I have, have engineered wonderful products and construction techniques to improve earthquake safety and increase the likelihood that your home will survive. Most Insurance companies will require some or all of these to qualify for insurance as well.
- Bolting your sill plate down – a simple process of bolting your home to your foundation through the use of a plate
- Strapping your water heater to a stud
- Install a gas shut off valve – a nifty gadget that shuts off the gas flow to your house through a motion activated valve. Once the earth starts shaking the valve closes.
- If you have a cement block foundation you can pay to have a bracing wall installed. This is a great upgrade that can convert your mediocre foundation into one that is often stronger than a regular poured foundation.
- Installing plywood to cripple wall foundations (half concrete, half wood frame), this simple upgrade increases the lateral resistance.
- Bracing masonry, especially chimneys.
- Securing movable items like appliances to wall studs.
- Tempered windows or window films to prevent shattered glass flying everywhere.
Check out these fabulous videos from Earthquake Tech about retrofits and how to’s.
Some of these you can buy kits to do yourself. The bigger retrofits can be done by professional contractors like Earthquake Tech and Avalin who specialize in these kinds of retrofits. Some of these will cost a pretty penny, but could save you a fortune or your life later.
For those of you who have a home built in the 90’s or more recently then you are in much better shape. Newer building codes have added most of these as requirements for newer buildings. For the rest of us, Happy Upgrades! Remember it’s worth it.
Shared with: Homestead Barn Hop –
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Tyra Baird from Oregon simply lives a lifestyle of preparedness and has a passion for sharing it. She received a Bachelors from BYU-Idaho in Child and family studies, and Home and family living. As a stay at home mom of 6 children under the age of 10, she considers herself an expert in man-made disasters and daily coping. Emergency preparedness and self reliance has been a way of life since she was a child (her mom was in the Teton Dam flood as a teen and her dad’s just paranoid). Tyra and her husband have embraced preparedness wholeheartedly. She’s been in a tornado, tropical storm, flooding, snowed in twice, severe storms, and slept through a few minor earthquakes. All of them were pretty mild. Tyra is a self proclaimed nerd who simply enjoys reading, researching, writing, teaching, and public speaking.