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News: 2012 Press Release
For Release: October 18, 2012
Media Calls Only: 916-492-3566
Commissioner Jones Encourages Residents to Prepare For Disaster During 2012 Great California ShakeOut Drill
Ask Yourself: How Prepared am I for an Earthquake?
Today, as millions of Californians are participating in the 2012 Great California ShakeOut drill, Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones is urging residents to prepare for disaster and evaluate their individual needs for earthquake insurance.
"California is one of the finest places to live on planet Earth," said Commissioner Jones. "But with all that splendor and beauty comes the eternal risk of earthquakes. As Californians, we know it's not a matter of if, but rather when the next major quake will hit. Have you taken the proper steps to prepare? How would you recover if your home was devastated by an earthquake?"
Homeowners insurance policies do not cover earthquake damage unless a separate earthquake policy is purchased.A 2011 data call by the California Department of Insurance (CDI) found that only 13 percent of homeowners and 5.8 percent of renters have earthquake insurance.
Commissioner Jones provided the following disaster preparedness tips for California homeowners and renters; you can also get important information about preparing for a disaster from the CDI Web site at www.insurance.ca.gov or call our toll-free consumer hotline at 1-800-927-HELP:
- Educate yourself to know the signs of an earthquake and how to protect yourself during an earthquake:
- Know in advance the safest locations in your home, at work or at school.
- Avoid windows and heavy objects.
- Once you're in a safe location "Drop, Cover, and Hold On."
- Take an inventory of your valuables and belongings. Take photographs or a video of each room. This documentation will provide your insurance company with proof of your belongings and help to process claims more quickly in the event of disaster.
- Keep sales receipts and/or canceled checks. Also note the model and serial numbers of the items in your home inventory.
- As you acquire more valuables-jewelry, family heirlooms, antiques, art-consider purchasing an additional "floater" or "rider" to your policy to cover these special items. These types of items typically are not covered by a basic homeowners or renter's insurance policy.
- Remember to include in your home inventory those items you rarely use (e.g., holiday decorations, sports equipment, tools, etc.).
- Store copies of all your insurance policies in a safe location away from your home that is easily accessible in case of disaster. You may want to store your policies and inventory in a waterproof, fireproof box or in a safe, remote location such as a bank safe deposit box. Consider leaving a copy of your inventory with relatives, friends or your insurance provider and store digital pictures in your e-mail or on a Web site for easy retrieval.
- Know what is and is not covered by your insurance policy. You might need additional protection depending on where you live. Make sure your policies are up to date. Contact your insurance provider annually to review and update your insurance policy.
- Keep a readily available list of 24-hour contact information for each of your insurance providers.
- Find out if your possessions are insured for the actual cash value or the replacement cost. Actual cash value is the amount it would take to repair or replace damage to your home or possessions after depreciation while replacement cost is the amount it would take to repair or replace your home or possessions without deducting for depreciation. Speak with your insurance provider to determine whether purchasing replacement coverage is worth the cost.
- Speak with your insurance provider to find out if your policy covers additional living expenses for a temporary residence if you are unable to live in your home due to damage from a disaster.
- Appraise your home periodically to make sure your insurance policy reflects home improvements or renovations. Contact your insurance provider to update your policy accordingly.
The California Department of Insurance, established in 1868, is the largest consumer protection agency in California, regulating the $123 billion insurance marketplace. In 2012 the California Department of Insurance received more than 160,000 calls from consumers and helped recover over $64 million in claims and premiums. Please visit the Department of Insurance web site at www.insurance.ca.gov. Non-media inquiries should be directed to the Consumer Hotline at 800.927.HELP. Out-of-state callers, please dial 213.897.8921. Telecommunications Devices for the Deaf (TDD), please dial 800.482.4833.
If you are a member of the public wishing information, please visit our Consumer Services.