How to Prepare Your House For an Earthquake

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Your home means a lot to you emotionally and financially, and as with anything that means a lot to you, you should take every step to protect it. A major threat to your house comes in the form of natural disaster, and one possibility is an earthquake. If you live in an area where earthquakes are historically common, or if you just want to be ready no matter what, then you should take the steps to prepare your house for an earthquake.

How to check on your insurance situation

Step 1: Acquire coverage for earthquakes. Standard homeowner’s insurance does not usually include coverage for earthquakes.
If this is news to you, then you should probably take a look at your insurance situation to make sure you are covered in the way you think you are. If an earthquake is something that worries you, consider purchasing additional earthquake coverage. You can get coverage as an endorsement on an existing policy.
While the damage the comes from a direct result of an earthquake is not covered without such an endorsement, any damage that is indirectly caused by the earthquake, such as a fire from downed power lines, would be covered.
This is a good time, then, to evaluate your policy as a whole to ensure it covers the value of your home and the cost to rebuild should something tragic occur. Remember, you want to have enough coverage for the worst possible scenario so you aren’t left in dire financial straights. This means having enough coverage for rebuilding costs should you lose part or all of the home.

Preparing the structure of your house for an earthquake

Step 1: Check for compromised elements of your home. This is an inspection you should perform regularly, and especially so if you are worried about an earthquake.
Check for signs of crumbling foundation or cracks in your walls, especially if you own an older home. Walk the perimeter of your home to look for any visible signs of weakness.
You should also be on the lookout for potential issues that could lead to fire. If the earthquake shakes your home enough, problems that may seem merely peripheral could suddenly turn catastrophic. So, if you have been putting off some home maintenance, you may want to consider finally completing it as part of your earthquake preparation.
If you are not savvy when it comes to home repair, have a professional stop by and work on your home as needed.
Step 2: Add supports to the structure of your house. You can increase the overall stability of your home by bracing it in a number of ways.
You can add anchoring bolts between your home and its foundation, add supports to essential structural walls, and brace chimneys or other masonry to your home. This will help your home stand up to an earthquake.
Step 3: Brace loose items inside the home. Your home is full of loose items like bookshelves, dressers, and other furniture that has the potential to fall.
You can, first of all, attach any furniture to walls to prevent it from toppling over during an earthquake. Make sure you anchor these into a stud. And be sure to train all the people in your household to keep themselves safe in an earthquake.
You can use extra anchoring on pictures to keep them on the wall, and be sure to strap heavy appliances like water heaters to a wall. Use common sense to increase the sturdiness of any other furniture or storage you have in place.
Preparing your home for an earthquake is a good idea for anyone, and it is not overly difficult to do so. By protecting your investment through insurance and taking steps to improve the structural integrity of your home, you’ll be as prepared as you can be if and when an earthquake hits.

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