A moderate earthquake shook Southern California near the San Bernardino area a few days before the end 2015. While there were no immediate reports of any damage or injuries, thousands of people were given a start. According to the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), the quake measured 4.4 on the Richter scale and was followed by aftershocks of 3.8 and 3.2 minutes after the initial tremor. A large number of minor aftershocks were recorded in the following hours. Around the same time a 4.8 intensity quake in Canada was felt in Washington State. Once again there were no immediate reports of injury or damage.
It’s Nothing New
People living in California are used to earthquakes and take them in their stride. While the yearend quake was of moderate intensity, it was not abnormal. While quake activity has reduced slightly in recent years, moderate ones are a traditional monthly occurrence in Southern California according to a USGS seismologist. So what is so newsworthy about the yearend quake?
The epicenter was near the intersection of the San Jacinto, Cucamonga and San Andreas faults, the most earthquake prone part of the state. While moderate in intensity, it was too small to determine which fault was the cause, so it could be any of these. There have been 9 magnitude 4 quakes in this region over the last 10 years. If none of these did any serious damage, then why the worry? The reason is that the USGS says that there is a 5% chance that a quake of this type could be the precursor of something bigger. 5% may not seem like much of a risk, but when you consider that there have already been 9 of the 5% possibility incidents in the last 9 years, another picture emerges. How much longer before the 5% probability turns into a reality? If a major quake does occur, it will not be something you will be able to forget about soon. Worrying about a coming quake is not being a scaremonger. The worry is based on hard scientific evidence and data. Studies done by NASA indicate that a major quake will hit the state in the next 2 years.
How Protected Are You?
You probably have homeowner’s insurance for your home. But this will not cover damage or loss due to earthquake. Earthquake coverage requires a separate policy. According to a study done by Bloomberg, 88%, or 8 out of 9 Californians do not have earthquake insurance. Other studies have slightly differing figures, but they all agree that the majority of homes in the state are not covered against quakes. Nothing can be done to stop an earthquake. A major one will always cause damage and possibly injury. The only way to cope with the loss and recover from it is to have adequate earthquake insurance that will allow you to repair your home and, in the worst case, rebuild one that has been destroyed. Talk to your insurance agent to work out the coverage you need and how much it will cost you.