Drop, cover, and hold on to your wallet

Oct. 19, 2012

Katy Grimes: Thursday was “The Great California Shake Out,” earthquake preparedness day. I had the great fortune to be at the CalEPA building for a California Air Resources Board meeting in Sacramento, where we were expected to “drop, cover, and hold on.”

As I huddled on the floor with my notebook over my head, hoping that the carpet was clean, I wondered why there has been such a big media push by the Earthquake Authority.

Last year I contacted the California Earthquake Authority to ask who they are and why they advertise so much. The public information officer I spoke with was uncomfortable with my questions and wanted to know why I wanted to know. Finally I got him to tell me that the CEA is a publicly managed, mostly privately funded organization that provides catastrophic residential earthquake insurance. He was insistent that they are not a public agency.

Anyone who owns a home and lives within an officially designated earthquake area must have earthquake insurance. But I still find it highly suspicious that the earthquake authority is publicly managed and “largely privately funded,” especially since many homeowners are not given a choice about carrying earthquake insurance.

The Great California Shake Out program has plastered the airwaves recently and news lately, along with the CEA’s commercials about its insurance. The Great California Shake Out website is a bit of a mystery until you scroll down to the bottom of the page. The sponsors are FEMA, the Southern California Earthquake Center at USC, California Earthquake Authority, California Emergency Management Agency, the United States Geological Survey, American Red Cross and State Farm Insurance Company.

The other strange group attached is the Earthquake Country Alliance, the organizer of California’s annual earthquake drill, a project of the USC earthquake center, funded by the National Science Foundation and the U.S. Geological Survey. The National Science Foundation doesn’t actually do work, they fund other groups.

It’s all about the publicly-funded grants.

Obviously California earthquakes are real, but do a dozen agencies, boards, commissions and companies need to be involved? It’s a drain on public funds.

And their commercials are stupid.


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  1. us citizen
    us citizen 19 October, 2012, 10:08

    Earthquake insurance is not mandatory. 🙂 I live in an earthquake area.

    I used to have earthquake insurance on the house. It was like an insurance policy. You took it out for however much you wanted to. After the 94 quake in the LA area, the rates went wild. I used to pay about $500-600 hundred for $100,000 worth of insurance. Remember you dont have to insure the land, just what kind of damage you want to protect in your house. In my case, I had severe damage and was yellow tagged. I had to have a free way crew come in and lift up the cantilevered part of the house, knock out the old pilasters and put in a new steel I-beam. It covered the walls, and lost personal items and replaced carpeting that had broken glass in it. It also provided rent if you had to move out for a while.

    Now earthquake insurance is $1200 to $2000. With a 20% deductible on the cost of your house. It does not cover any personal items, no out buildings, and no out side walls. So on a $500,000 home, you have to come up with over $100,000 of structural damage before the insurance even kicks in. On a $250,000 house…….$50,000 etc.

    This is why people dont have it anymore. This is ridiculous. Basically unless your house is totally destroyed, it covers next to nothing. The insurance companies are ripping people off big time.

    Reply this comment
  2. I'mjustsayin'...
    I'mjustsayin'... 19 October, 2012, 10:23

    earthquakes, like everything else in California, are probably caused by global warming/climate change. So does that mean homeowners could receive a piece of the delicious cap-and-trade auction revenue pie to help offset the cost of their earthquake insurance?

    Reply this comment
  3. Tax Target
    Tax Target 19 October, 2012, 10:40

    Here in the gulag comrades are not entitled to raise concerns about natural disasters. The state will surely resolve these important issues for you. After all they did such a splendid job with creating the last reform of earthquake insurance. Sleep well comrades. We’re taken care of in the gulag.

    Reply this comment
  4. CalWatchdog
    CalWatchdog Author 19 October, 2012, 11:27

    Actually earthquake insurance is mandatory in many cases, particularly on commercial property, and depending on whether the lender makes it mandatory.


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  5. Hondo
    Hondo 19 October, 2012, 11:54

    As a kid in La Puente and West Covina, when an earthquake hit we kids would run outside and lay in the street so we could see the pavement roll with the waves of the earthquake. ‘Duck and cover’ my ass. We little brats were out there riding the waves like ones from the ocean. I remember one occurring when the great Jerry Dumphy was reading the 6 oclock news. Him and his crew ran from the room yelling, while me and my brothers ran outside to ‘ride the waves’. ” What a [email protected]##y” we hooted. I slept right through the big one in 71. I was up 15 minutes before to use the bathroom and went back to bed and slept right through it. I got up a few minutes later and asked why everyone was running around the house yelling.
    Construction laws dating back to the 50’s have made Kalifornia a safe place for even earthquakes approaching 7. Ones that big and bigger are one in a century or two events.
    All these agencies are just make work jobs.
    I remember the original ‘duck and cover’ exercises just after the Cuban missle crisis. We were told when the 3,000 degree fireball blew threw our classroom window at 500 mph, ducking under the desk would save us.
    The day after Kennedy announced the missle crisis, our neighbor down the street started to dig a fallout shelter in his back yard. I remember all the kids and dads from the neighborhood standing at the edge and the men asking ” how deep ya going Bill”. 8 months later, when the crisis was over and Bill had already poured the concrete foundation, he tried to turn it into the worst swimming pool ever built.
    True story.
    And this story is just how the Kali buerocrats respond to any crisis. Never let one go to waste. Just waste and waste and waste and waste and…….

    Reply this comment
  6. jimmydeeoc
    jimmydeeoc 19 October, 2012, 15:13

    The stupidest thing about quake insurance is that they promote the false narrative that “all of California is earthquake country” to the seismically illiterate.

    That’s utter BS. Pull out a fault map.

    I live in Central OC, Near Irvine. There are no faults close enough to me that would collapse my 1998-era house. In a worst case scenario I would receive some damage, but nothing approaching the 20% deductible. (Which is why the whole San Onofre Nuke plant protests are a charade as well…..they prey on the gullible, ignorant public)

    The same applies to Sacramento I might add. Even an 8.0 on the San Andreas isn’t going to destroy Sacramento, some 80 miles away. It would sure do a number on the Bay Area, however.

    Reply this comment
  7. Rex the Wonder Dog!
    Rex the Wonder Dog! 19 October, 2012, 15:48

    The problem with EQ insurance is there is usually a VERY HIGH deductible, like $50K or more…….

    BTW the gov CANNOT offer insurance,m unless it is part of the FLOOD program and that is only in high risk areas……

    Reply this comment
  8. us citizen
    us citizen 19 October, 2012, 16:50

    Well the lender may force quake insurance on business but I know that it is a choice around here and you dont have to get it. Im talking the san fernando, simi valley and valencia areas. And this is right where the 94 quake hit.

    Imjustsayin…………..I hope you are being a smart ass. Earthquakes are not caused by global warming. But I could see how the dim wits in Sacramento might think they are. 🙂

    Reply this comment
  9. Bubba
    Bubba 19 October, 2012, 19:42

    I remember when I had EQ insurance from my insurance company, then IDIOTS in Sacramento said…hey we’ll create a “State Run” insurance fund! Guess what? The cost on EQ insurance got so expensive I stopped it.
    Now the Ne’er Do wells at the Cal Earthquake Authority are in the boat as CARB; just another Unaccountable unelected bunch of busy bodies trying to justify their existence!
    Texas here I come

    Reply this comment

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