Saturday, September 03, 2016

Earthquake Stuff

I guess the earthquake last night was a 5.6. I would have thought it smaller than that. The futon we were sitting on while watching TV shook gently for a few seconds and that was it, except for me getting all paranoid that was just a prelude to The Big 'Un.

They're discussing it over at the Lost Coast Outpost with one commentator wondering if their earthquake insurance might pay for a new house. I had to remind him or her they'll still have a deductible to pay and those can run into the thousands of dollars.

I figured that out years ago. It was probably the January quake of 2010. It kinda pulled our house apart and I ended up having to take our chimney down because of damage. I went ahead and called State Farm since we had earthquake insurance at the time. 

They sent out an assessor right away. She came over and spent hours going through the house, finding damage we weren't even aware of like cracked sheetrock (how did she know it wasn't cracked before the quake?) and such. Then she left but apparently not before taking note of what she felt were "unsafe conditions" in the house that might require a re- assessment of our insurance rates.

Somehow I found out the main thing that caught her eye was our front door had some stuff blocking it, that being considered a safety hazard, never mind there were three other exits to the room very close by.  

A couple days later our insurance gal at the time, Janet Holmes, came by, looked around and took some pictures. That was it and they never raised our insurance payments although I suppose they could have.

That emphasized to me that I shouldn't call the insurance people unless it's a last resort. We had something like a $6000.00 deductible on the earthquake policy, anyway. We didn't have that much money to even start making any repairs so we pretty much put our policy under the looking glass when we couldn't have used it ,anyway, and they might have raised our rates because we called them. We lucked out.

Just like calling the building inspector. The earthquake had pulled the two story part of our house slightly apart from the single story, leaving a visible one inch gap between the two. Looking under the house from the front porch, I could see where the posts in the foundation had also moved about an inch.

The city had offered free building inspections for earthquake damage so I figured, what the heck, and called them. The inspector came out, thought everything was ok and put a green placard on the front of the house. 

That's when I realized I probably shouldn't have called him. Had he thought the house was damaged enough to be deemed unsafe, he could have put a red placard on our house. That would mean the house was uninhabitable and they could have, at least technically, thrown us out of the house. I shouldn't have called them since the house was still standing. Again, we lucked out.

Back then they didn't have the authority to physically remove you from what was deemed an unsafe dwelling. Not long after that quake I believe they passed a city ordinance giving police authority to remove people from unsafe houses. I watched the council meeting on TV. 

Now it's even more prudent to not call the building department over earthquake damage unless you've already decided the damage is severe enough you're going to abandon the house, anyway.

The bottom line: don't call anyone for earthquake damage unless you feel you absolutely have to.


At 10:40 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Good advice. "We're from the government and we're here to help, now get out!"

At 1:24 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Earthquake in Oklahoma 09/03/2016
A 5.6 magnitude earthquake struck Saturday morning near Pawnee, Oklahoma, and rattled through at least six surrounding states in the US heartland, according to the US Geological Survey.
Earthquake in Oklahoma

At 2:00 PM, Blogger Fred Mangels said...

Oklahoma??? Now we're really doomed!

At 2:39 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Look on the bright side. Businesses and organizations do not have to develop Strategic Plans for where they want to be five-ten years hence. Long-term planning is now five months. Or one can use the A.A. plan.


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