I've written before that I tend to be a late owl. I stay up to 2 am and sleep until 10 am. More recently I've been staying up to 3 or 4 am. Yup I was on my computer Sunday night, not doing anything important, when I felt a jolt at about 3:22 am.
Oh, it's an earthquake, I thought. It seemed like a pretty strong jolt, followed by another one and then the rolling. That's when I started getting scared. I was ready to dive under my desk when the rolling stopped.
This was the first earthquake I've been through that actually scared me. I've been through several earthquakes when I lived in Culver City, and one in Morro Bay, and several up here in San Ramon, but the one Sunday night was scary.
It didn't feel like a big earthquake but it lasted longer than usual. I went to the USGS Earthquake map to see where it was and how strong it was, but it wasn't listed. Or at least one near here wasn't listed. I tried the SFGate website to get news on the earthquake, but there wasn't anything there at 3:30 am on Sunday.
I tried TV, and finally about 3:40 one of the stations reported on the earthquake in American Canyon. Where's that? I thought it was near Sacramento, but the newscaster said it is near Napa. They said it was 6.0, which is a medium sized quake. I didn't think it caused much damage, so I went to bed.
Today of course we know that the damage in Napa was extensive. I thought Napa was wine country, covered in vineyards and farms. Napa Valley is, but Napa the city is a City with a population of almost 80,000. I didn't realize how densely populated Napa is.
The damage from this earthquake isn't much here in San Ramon. I walked around my house yesterday, to check on any new cracks or shifting of my water barrels or air conditioner. I saw a few cracks in the stucco exterior but these did not look like anything serious. Nothing was moved out of alignment. The rain barrels and piping were intact and the air conditioner was still bolted to the faux concrete pad it is on.
So nothing for me to worry about here. But the photos from Napa are very different. Windows blown out, roofs shifted, chunks of concrete on the ground, and interior belongings strewn in pieces in partially collapsed homes.
Even though I was awake during the earthquake here, the scene from Napa was a wakeup call. We are always being reminded that "the big one" is due or overdue for this area. San Francisco is on the San Andreas Fault, but San Ramon is on the Hayward Fault, and that one would be far more devastating to us here.
I do not have earthquake insurance. Its very expensive and has a very big deductible. The "big one" seemed too far away to worry about. But now it's a lot closer only 50 miles away in Napa. There were a few serious injuries and two deaths, but most of the residents are OK. The biggest problem is rebuilding.
Many homes are red tagged, which means uninhabitable. They will probably have to be torn down and rebuilt. Even if the homes can be rebuilt, the cost will be very high. This is all starting to look more real to me.
I emailed my insurance agent about earthquake insurance. I suppose she's getting a lot of queries about it now. I don't want to panic into paying a large amount for something that might not happen for 20 years or more.
Here's my correspondence with Denise Craig, my Farmer's agent in Danville.
I'm thinking about getting earthquake insurance. I started a quote on the Farmer's website. It referred me to you. I suppose you are getting a lot of inquiries about this now. How much would it cost to add earthquake coverage for my house?
"Hi Roz, hope you're doing well. There is a 15 day moratorium on EQ policies right now. It's always this way until things have settled. I've attached a quote for you to look over; page 2 shows the EQ coverage and premium.
We can get a policy going after the moratorium has been lifted if you like. ½ needs to be paid upfront the remainder is billed 2 months later. The policy has a 15% deductible also.
Let me see if I got this right. The first listing is the coverage I already have on my house, which is $622.87. Is the earthquake coverage $887 or is the total insurance for the house $887? I'd go for adding $264 for earthquake, but not another almost $900 a year.
"The EQ policy costs more than the homeowners policy, your home is the $622 a year and the EQ policy will run you $887 for the year. That's why not many people have EQ coverage, it's way too expensive and with the 15% deductible ($35,250) it would take a lot to have it pay for anything.
"Thanks Denise. That's why I never got it. I have the flood insurance for about $400 a year, but I'm right by the creek, so it could flood here. I'll keep my fingers crossed that we don't get a big earthquake in the next 20 years.
"Me too as I don't have it either!!