Sunday, August 23, 2009

Should You Invest in California or outside California? Part 6

“Florida? Probably not. The hurricane comes every year.” Some investors shy away from hurricane-prone area like Florida or Texas, but they forget that they life in an earthquake-prone area, California. While tornado and hurricane can be expensive to insured, they are still insurable risk. Earthquake, in my opinion, is almost an uninsurable risk, especially the big ones that attacked San Francisco in 1906 and Loma Prieta in 1989.

But how about the earthquake insurance? Earthquake insurance costs a lot of money, with not much coverage. California residents have the option to get earthquake insurance through California Earthquake Authority (CEA). Insurance companies that belong to CEA offer standard earthquake insurance policy with 15% deductible. Earthquake insurance is also available outside CEA. There is premium calculator available at CEA website. Imagine the next big earthquake is coming, even if you have an earthquake insurance coverage, if insurance companies receive too many claims, do you think they will remain solvent?

An alternative to buying earthquake insurance is to retrofit the property. The money paid for insurance premium overtime, may be well spent on the project retrofitting the property. Some lenders opt for borrower taking precaution steps rather than buying earthquake insurance. The structure should be tied to the foundation, water heater should be secured to the wall and cripple walls should be braced with plywood.

Investors, if you think Florida or Texas or Oklahoma are risky, think again! Diversify your asset geographically!

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