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Californians practice earthquake preparedness

Posted On Fri, October 16, 2009

Recently, 6.9 million people participated in a large earthquake drill as part of the Great California ShakeOut.

The event aims to have people be prepared in the event that an actual earthquake occurs. In light of that, California Insurance Department Commissioner Steve Poizner has urged everyone in the state to be ready for the various types of natural disasters that can befall residents, including wildfires and ground tremors.

"Because disaster strikes when we least expect it, it is vital for homeowners to prepare now for the possibility of a catastrophic loss," Poizner said.

Included in being prepared is making sure that a property has the proper home insurance to deal with disasters. Homes affected by fires are generally covered under a basic home insurance policy. However, most people will have to get separate earthquake home insurance if they want to be prepared for that disaster.

In order to be ready, homeowners should take down an inventory of their belongings and should establish multiple escape routes. Homeowners should check with their home insurance company to see if their policy includes covering expenses incurred during an evacuation.

According to the Insurance Information Institute (III), the United States experiences about 5,000 earthquakes annually. Earthquakes have occurred in 39 states since 1900, and all 50 states have experienced damage as a result of them. The III reports that the most costly earthquake on record was the Northridge earthquake, which occurred in California in 1994.

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