Are the Gods Angry at California?

Real Estate Agent with InActive Agent

San Fernando regionSeems poor California just can't ever get a break! Earthquakes, fires, heat waves, and foreclosures, all located on some of the most beautiful real estate in the U.S. It Just doesn't seems fair.

When I was 21 I moved to Pismo Beach California and had the best time of my life. I grew up in a small town in Texas, and it's about as opposite of the Cali beach town you can find. Every day I was amazed at the beautiful weather and scenery, and, well,..the girls weren't bad either.

Even then there were fires every summer, an occasional earthquake, and of course fluctuations in the economy. I just don't recall seeing so much disaster hitting there all at the same time.

The magnitude 5.4 earthquake that hit metropolitan Los Angeles today caused no serious damage or injuries, but experts say it's a reminder that the "Big One" could happen at any time. California's history of quakes incredible to say the least.

On February 9, 1971, California experienced one of its most devastating earthquakes. Just before sunrise, the highly-populated San Fernando region was shaken by a 6.6 Richter magnitude quake that destroyed homes and businesses, badly damaged three hospitals, collapsed highways and water reservoirs, and resulted in the deaths of 65 people.

A list of the biggest quakes in recent California history, measured by magnitude:

1. 7.3, Landers, Calif., June 28, 1992, three deaths

2. 7.2, Cape Mendocino, Calif., April 25, 1992

3. 7.2, Off coast of Northern California, June 14, 2005

4. 7.1, Hector Mine, Calif., Oct. 16, 1999

5. 7.0, Honeydew, Calif., Aug. 17, 1991

6. 7.0, Cape Mendocino, Calif., Sept. 1, 1994

7. 6.9, Loma Prieta, Calif., Oct. 18, 1989, 63 deaths

8. 6.7, Northridge, Calif., Jan. 17, 1994, 60 deaths

9. 6.6, San Simeon, Calif., Dec. 22, 2003, 2 deaths

10. 6.6, Off coast of Northern California, June 16, 2005

11. 6.2, Joshua Tree, Calif., April 23, 1992

12. 6.0, Central California, Sept. 28, 2004

13. 5.6, Sierra Madre, Calif., June 28, 1991, two deaths

14. 5.6, San Francisco Bay Area, Calif., Oct. 30, 2007

15. 5.4, Chino Hills, Calif., July 29, 2008

Source: U.S. Geological Survey

Above is a  map of southern California, with epicenters of historic earthquakes (as far back as 1812)

How do homeowners protect their most valuable asset?

Less than 12 percent of California homeowners have earthquake insurance, according to the Insurance Information Network of California. A deductible cost chosen by the homeowner can reach up to 25 percent of the house value to be paid in the event of any earthquake damage. The higher the deductible, the lower the cost of the earthquake insurance.

Unfortunately, even if you have insurance, in order for it to pay-off the house needs to be rendered unoccupiable by a quake. That probability is low for most homes and the value of most stuff that would be destroyed would probably be less than the deductible you pay.

So it seems Californians are simply at the mercy of the Gods of natural disaster, and right now, the Gods appear to be very, very, angry!

Comments (5)

Sharon Paxson
Compass - Newport Beach, CA
Newport Beach Real Estate

Earthquakes are just part of living here.

Jul 30, 2008 03:13 AM
Renée Donohue~Home Photography
Savvy Home Pix - Allegan, MI
Western Michigan Real Estate Photographer

I felt earthquake #4 and it prompted me to buy an earthquake insurance rider!

Jul 30, 2008 03:13 AM
Michael Creel
InActive Agent - Bellevue, WA

I felt the one in 1989 a little bit, but it was far from us. We had a decent little shake in Washington State several years ago while I was there also. They do perk the day up a bit.

Jul 30, 2008 03:36 AM
John Walters
Frank Rubi Real Estate - Slidell, LA
Licensed in Louisiana

Just like we got hit with the hurricane.  You know a big earthquake is coming. Just don't know when.

Jul 30, 2008 03:38 AM
Michael Creel
InActive Agent - Bellevue, WA

I saw a movie that depicted tornado's hitting L.A., it wasn't pretty!

Jul 30, 2008 03:43 AM