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Chances of a "Big One" in California Rise, Few Have Quake Insurance

Scientists now say that the risk of California being hit by an earthquake with a magnitude of 8 or higher within the next 30 years is much greater than in earlier predictions...
April 29, 2015

Scientists now say that the risk of California being hit by an earthquake with a magnitude of 8 or higher within the next 30 years is much greater than in earlier predictions. At the same time, earthquake coverage is not mandatory in California and Chris Schultz, deputy insurance commissioner, says that only 11 per cent of homeowners and tenants in the state currently have earthquake insurance, and commercial uptake is similarly low.

In March, the Third Uniform California Earthquake Rupture Forecast reported newly discovered fault zones and indicated that earthquakes could move from one zone to another. The simultaneous shaking in more than one zone could result in an extremely severe quake and result in widespread destruction. According to the report, the likelihood of moderate earthquakes is lower, but the chances of what the researchers refer to as a mega quake in the next 30 years is now 7 percent, compared with 4.7 percent in earlier predictions.

"It has been 21 years since the last major earthquake in the state and many rationalize that they can do without," said Robert Hartwig, president of the Insurance Information Institute. "Unfortunately, too many seem willing to play Russian roulette with what is likely to be their most valuable asset, their home."

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