Friday, January 4, 2019

Earthquake Country

If you live in one, here is goodish news.  If you retrofit your older home, and have proof, you can get a discount on earthquake insurance.  

And just what is a retrofit that? you ask?  To quote Dave Silva, Silva Construction, "It means to install, fit or adapt a device or system for use with something older," which in this case is your house!  The goal is to keep your house safely on the foundation.   Retrofit for houses can include:  house bolting, foundation bolting and wall bracing.   It's not cheap (but then your house probably wasn't either) running from $3,000 to $7,000.  

Spring for it and the California Earthquake Authority will refer you to member insurance companies who offer this insurance will give you an discount on insurance up to 20% of the cost.  This is primarily for houses built before 1979.

However, our house was built in 1964 and the frame IS bolted to the concrete foundation.  I would advise you to take a look before you do anything.  I look at new construction around here and sigh.  Cheap-looking wood with a knothole every two feet or so … other sheets of wood seemingly fabricated from sawdust … One could get the feeling that a strong wind during construction could blow your putative house into the next street over.  

In short, don't think that "newer construction" i.e. cheapest materials possible will protect your house from falling down.  In the old days, they built hell-for-stout.  Just consider  the old missions which dot Southern California.  

If you do look, and the framing is bolted down, take that $3,000 to $7,000 and go on a cruise!  House falls down at least you're having a good time asea and run no risk of being found dead in the rubble that was once your house.  It's called legitimate reassessment of existing funds.   Or "female logic" as in, "Well I didn't spend this money for X so I am entitled to spend it on Y."  Ka-ching!

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