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Earthquake insurance: worth it in Charleston, SC or Anytown, USA?

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posted on Mar, 23 2012 @ 12:13 AM
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I have no clue what kind of damage one could reasonably expect from a 7.0-ish earthquake to a fairly recent (say, 90's era) single family detached home, so when the Summerville fault recently started talking, and folks start saying we should pick up earthquake insurance, I have to ask those who are versed in this area their opinion on the matter? Let's say that any town, really, but for specific argument's sake Charleston, SC gets hit with, let's also guess, a 7.2 earthquake like its last major one: what can the average homeowner expect in terms of damage to relatively recent (meaning modern building codes) buildings? I know lots of unreinforced concrete is bad, but there's not much of that in the housing market in the US, but rather wood-framed homes with vinyl siding or brick exteriors. How do those hold up to 7's?

Also, is there much difference to the kind of damage caused by different faults? For instance, Charleston's is a crazy mid-plate fault or something weird like that, so is there a difference with the kind of damage caused by those as opposed to classic San Andreas-type faults?

Thanks in advance. Video for those who like them:





posted on Mar, 23 2012 @ 12:31 AM
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reply to post by 00nunya00
 


I've been watching these earthquakes closely, as they're close to me!

The last major earthquake Charleston was quite a decent size.


Hardly a structure there was undamaged, and only a few escaped serious damage. Property damage was estimated at $5-$6 million. Structural damage was reported several hundred kilometers from Charleston (including central Alabama, central Ohio, eastern Kentucky, southern Virginia, and western West Virginia), and long-period effects were observed at distances exceeding 1,000 kilometers.


earthquake.usgs.gov...

Keeping in mind the building codes were different then... I still expect to see some major damage if another large one hits here.

From the Wikipedia Page (en.wikipedia.org...):


You may also check the Modified-Mercalli Scale here

With a larger earthquake we could see a variety of effects in our area. Secure structures may suffer little to no damage, but less adequately constructed buildings would most likely fail completely. I would expect to see damage to interstate overpasses, possibly large power transmission lines, and either of the two major bridges in the area. I don't really want to be down here when that goes down. But, if I am, I'd rather be in the middle of a nice grassy field.


A local insurance company has a few hints about earthquake insurance (not advertising just informing here).

From: www.ctlowndes.com...


Is earthquake insurance expensive?

The Charleston area does have fairly high earthquake rates. The rates for a frame or wooden building are much less than the rate for a brick veneer or other masonry building. As a very general guide, the earthquake rate for a frame house would be $1.00 per thousand and for a masonry building, $3.00 to $5.00 per thousand. For example, earthquake insurance for a frame house insured for $300,000 would cost about $300 annually. Your agent can give you an exact quote.



Sounds like the wood frame buildings are cheaper, and would be easier to insure. Assuming we do have a major earthquake though, I'd be more concerned about staying safe in an earthquake and making sure the house doesn't come down on me! I'm sure there would be some damage to a typical home, but it's easier to fix the house than the owner.



posted on Mar, 23 2012 @ 12:33 AM
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If your home is brick, it will sustain much more damage than a wooden structure. a 7+ EQ for that region would be quite strong, and that area is probably not built with any type of EQ codes as say, the San Fran bay area, where I came from.

If possible, get a copy of the blue prints for your home. That will tell you locations of all gas and water lines in your home. Good things to know in EQ country. There should be a copy of the prints on file with city planning.

Hope this helped a little.

Des



posted on Mar, 23 2012 @ 12:49 AM
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I appreciate both replies, especially the insurance rate info----that's very helpful to my decision! The answer to my question, then, seems to be: EQ insurance for a frame-home owner like myself here in Chucktown would be pretty damn cheap compared to the possible damage my home could see.

So that leads me to the more important question, I guess: what's the chance of serious structural failure like the roof caving in or a wood-framed wall coming down? (Glad we didn't buy brick now, LOL!) In EQ zones like Cali, how do houses like this stand up, and how have wood-frame houses in non-EQ zones stood up? Really hard to Google this kind of specific info, so I'm relying on those EQ buffs here who have knowledge of not only the quakes but also remember the damage.

In my head, I always envision an EQ hitting at night, and try to plan how I would save my kids. My daughter sleeps in another room maybe 30 feet from me, ranch home, and the baby sleeps in bed with us. My husband and I have agreed that if anything bad ever happens, I get the baby out and he gets our daughter out. Is it even possible to make your way from one room to another and get out of the house by the time it's over? Or do you have to just hold on to your arse and hope nothing comes down on you? We've anchored all of her high furniture and nothing is over any of the beds, but nothing I can do about the roof or walls. Eek.
edit on 23-3-2012 by 00nunya00 because: (no reason given)



posted on Mar, 23 2012 @ 01:01 AM
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reply to post by 00nunya00
 


Those are hard questions to answer. As far as damage; a single structure can be affected any number of ways given the variables of an earthquake. It's really impossible to accurately predict how it would react. It could be fine in one example, and it could be completely destroyed in another. I'd imagine it would be mostly intact though, especially if it's built very strongly.

As far as moving room to room in an earthquake... It depends on the strength and type ofmovent. The best way to gauge your ability to walk around during one is to watch a few videos of intense earthquake shaking. It'd probably make you rethink that. Your best bet is to inform everyone to have a safe spot to sit and wait until the shaking stops before attempting to go anywhere. Remember, your safety is first priority because you can't help anyone if you're incapacitated.

You seem on top of things, but remember to make sure everyone has an idea of how to react and plan ahead!



posted on Mar, 24 2012 @ 12:27 AM
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reply to post by 00nunya00
 


I did a little further research for you.

Here's a really helpful document: www.pacificengineering.org...

It details the expected results of a major earthquake in the Charleston SC area. It's a long document, but I'd say it's worth a look if you're near here.



posted on Mar, 24 2012 @ 01:31 AM
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Here in New Zealand our house coped with a shallow 7.1 earthquake centred approx 30km away from our house. Our home is weatherboard with tin roof on concrete piles build in the late 1940's. We sustained about 50k of damage almost exclusively due to the fact our walls and ceiling were old lath and plaster. Houses around us that had gib or plaster board - their repair bills came in well under 10k. But we are on good solid ground and we had no lateral spreading or liquefaction at all in our area.

In other parts of town whole suburbs have been written off completely - either by the 7.1 or by one of the 3 6's that followed in the 18 months or so since. The biggest common denominator for most is liquefaction - the houses would have probably been fine if not for the land damage. The other big issue was old brick / stone or concrete buildings that didn't have strengthening - although I think several that came down had been strengthen excessively (i.e the Cathedral) - but the ground movement was just too severe.

So - advice? check out potential for liquefaction and the strength of your home. Weight seems to be a factor - buy far the best performers have been light construction - Weather board, iron roof etc - tiles fall off - bricks fall off or mortar cracks. Watch out for chimneys - they can fall through the roof - we lost the top of ours but it luckily went the other way!

Even if items are secured to the walls GET AWAY FROM THEM. Seriously - at my hubby's work secured shelving came down right on to desks - it had been well bolted - took a lot of the wall with it. The other thing is that even though a bookcase or tallboy is secured its contents (books / drawers) aren't and can still cross a room with some momentum!

BTW - I share your fear of night-time earthquakes - ours was 4.35am, power went out as the shaking started - it was pitch black! Will never forget it.



posted on Mar, 24 2012 @ 05:34 AM
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Originally posted by 00nunya00
In my head, I always envision an EQ hitting at night, and try to plan how I would save my kids. My daughter sleeps in another room maybe 30 feet from me, ranch home, and the baby sleeps in bed with us. My husband and I have agreed that if anything bad ever happens, I get the baby out and he gets our daughter out. Is it even possible to make your way from one room to another and get out of the house by the time it's over? Or do you have to just hold on to your arse and hope nothing comes down on you? We've anchored all of her high furniture and nothing is over any of the beds, but nothing I can do about the roof or walls. Eek.
edit on 23-3-2012 by 00nunya00 because: (no reason given)


I just wanted to add here - it's really really difficult and more dangerous to try and get to the kids in a big EQ. Almost impossible in the dark! Most of the injuries we heard about locally people got from trying to run through the house and colliding with door frames / walls / down stairs / flying furniture - especially when it's pitch black and you have been woken from a deep sleep. We have drilled out kids DO NOT try and leave your bedroom - get straight under your bed and stay there until we come and get you. They quite often practise - I hear them in the room shouting "earthquake" and leaping under the beds giggling and carrying on - kinda sad - but good that they've taken the message on board.



posted on Mar, 24 2012 @ 12:30 PM
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reply to post by Mapkar
 


Wow, that's freakin' awesome! Thank you so much! I live in Goose Creek (5 mins down the road from the Summerville fault area) so this is perfect! You rock, I really appreciate that. My research time is quite limited now with two kids and breastfeeding all the time, LOL, so you've really saved me a lot of time and work. Right on. Stars for you.



posted on Mar, 24 2012 @ 12:34 PM
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reply to post by Evltre
 


Ach, see, here in Charleston you're always about two feet from water, it's right underneath our feet. Crazy high water table, no one can even have basements or even storm shelters. You can dig a well by sticking a garden hose in a PVC pipe and banging it down until you hit groundwater. Serious liquefaction risks here I'd say. $150 a year seems like a pretty good deal for insurance!



posted on Mar, 24 2012 @ 12:37 PM
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reply to post by Evltre
 


Yep, I think this needs to be our plan. Makes me hesitant to move the baby into his own room now, with that big hutch 5 feet from his crib, even anchored well....it's still crazy heavy. Might have to just move the crib into our bedroom for a while, at least until these little EQs die down.



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