Is your home protected?

Rebecca Neipp

News Review Staff Writer

Is your home protected?By REBECCA NEIPP

News Review Staff Writer

With scores of homes red-tagged — and hundreds more in the queue awaiting inspection, many homeowners in the Indian Wells and Searles valley communities have been displaced with no clear path for how to pick up the pieces and rebuild.

According to estimates from the California Earthquake Authority, only about 2,000 residents of Ridgecrest, Trona and Inyokern — out of an estimated 15,000 households — held earthquake insurance policies.

“This event is an important reminder that all of California is earthquake country,” Glenn Pomeroy, CEO of the earthquake authority, stated in a press release following the 6.4- and 7.1-magnitude quakes that rocked the region.

“If this earthquake had occurred under a densely populated area, it is likely that California would be looking at many more injuries and at damages in the billions of dollars.”

Even without the broader devastation typically seen in metropolitan areas, thousands of residential and commercial property owners have experienced losses they may or may not have funds to cover.

Even those with earthquake insurance cite policy deductibles ranging from $25,000 to upwards of $80,000. Policyholders choose a deductible ranging from 5 to 25 percent of coverage, said a CEA spokesperson. “The deductible is subtracted from the covered damage, so they don’t have to pay any of the deductible up front before they receive their claim payment.

“Also note that loss-of-use coverage never has a deductible, and the first $1,500 for emergency repairs has no deductible.” That figure for renters is $1,000, or 5 percent personal property coverage.

Anecdotal evidence gathered from volunteers and advocates of the displaced indicate that very few of those impacted held insurance.

Many of those residents are awaiting city-wide assessments to find out what federal aid programs our area qualifies for. (See related story, this section).

In the meantime, agents set up at the Home Depot parking indicate significant interest from those inquiring about earthquake insurance. At press time, a total of new policyholders was not available.

Pictured: Shortly after the July 4-5 earthquakes, insurance agents set-up in the parking lot of Home Depot to offer information to local homeowners seeking protection for the property - Photo by Rebecca Neipp

Story First Published: 2019-07-19