Ninety percent of California homeowners don't have an earthquake insurance policy, a particularly alarming number given that California is known for earthquakes. Just 6 percent of Napa Valley homeowners — one of the hardest hit areas in this weekend's quake — have insurance policies, according to the California Earthquake Authority (C.E.A.).
There are many reasons California residents don't purchase earthquake insurance. According to The Los Angeles Times, the C.E.A.'s state run insurance pools have raised prices, decreased coverage and increased deductibles from 5 to 15 percent. This means that a homeowner would have to pay out of pocket for the first $75,000 of earthquake damage to a $500,000 house before their insurance policy takes effect.
Another reason is that just because California has more earthquakes than most of the country, it still doesn't have that many earthquakes. The San Francisco Bay Area has only had seven earthquakes in the last 60 years. (Sunday's quake, the largest in the San Francisco Bay area since 1989, could cost the area more than $4 billion in damages, according to Bloomberg News.)
California businesses, unlike homeowners, do purchase earthquake insurance. Bloomberg News reported that Kinetic Analysis Corp. estimated the vast majority of the $2.1 billion dollars insurance companies are likely to pay will go to businesses. Unfortunately that leaves local residents footing the rest of the growing bill.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.