Here’s the deal, when getting a loan for a house, homeowners insurance is top of mind. Forget the loan part, if you pay cash for your home, it’s still top of mind. So much time and research is spent shopping around looking for the best deals, but here’s the part that’s going to be hard to swallow: we aren’t always covered.

Insurance companies can be very vague when it comes to letting its clients know what is covered by their policy and what is not. Did you know that riots are covered by basic homeowners insurance, but earthquakes and hurricanes are not? I think I would like to take my chances with the riots, throw that out and give me some earthquake coverage. Let’s not even begin to talk about why water damage from a sprinkler system or air conditioning system is covered but a whole category of “other water damage”, like a backed up septic tank, is left for more advanced types of insurance.

Shaking things up

In California, what is the natural disaster that shakes things up more than any other? That causes even the toughest to tremble? I’m talking about earthquakes. They happen all over the state all the time. Just since I’ve started writing, there’s been one just 12 miles outside of Redding. Even though it only hit 2.1 on the Richter scale, it is a reminder of the frequency of earthquakes all over the state.

Despite the fact that you’ve just had your house rocked around until the upstairs toilet has somehow found its way into the laundry room, the worst part of an earthquake in California is the fact that it isn’t always covered by basic insurance. You’re left standing in the rubble that was your home and having to call and pay for the restoration contractor yourself.

It’s the fault’s fault

California can’t help that it is riddled with fault lines from the very top of the state, all the way to the Southern Border Region. There have been 362 earthquakes in and right around California in the past week alone. Did you hear that? 362! That’s almost enough for one earthquake a day for a year in just a weeks time! Although most of them are only big enough to stir your coffee, here are some tips for dealing with an earthquake:

  • Cover your head
  • Although it doesn’t change the situation, it helps your own sanity to curse the heavens
  • Have your coffee ready before the earthquake hits; it will save you a step in the morning.
  • If you own structures anywhere near the radius, start looking into disaster cleanup companies

Aftershock comes after the shock

For those who have never been in an earthquake before, it is a shocking experience. One minute everything is fine, sitting in its place, as it should be, next thing you know the walls are shaking. The ceiling is on the floor; the table is on its side. The worst part is: one minute feels like a lifetime. Like being in a molecular biology class where the teacher drones on in a monotone voice without pausing for anything.

And yet after it is finished, you are left wondering what just happened. Not to mention the shock after calling the insurance company only to learn you aren’t covered. Here’s my advice: don’t let the insurance companies throw you off balance. Learn your policy. Before you are rattled in the aftermath of an earthquake, know what to expect.