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Get Earthquake Insurance After an Earthquake Retrofit

Get Earthquake Insurance After an Earthquake Retrofit

The Pacific Rim of Fire is the most geologically active region on our planet Earth.  It circles the Pacific Ocean, touching the coasts of North and South America, Japan, China and Russia.  It is where the majority of Earth’s major earthquakes occur as major plate boundaries collide.  The West Coast of the United States is a prime location for seismic activity and researchers predict that a major earthquake will happen somewhere along the fault lines within the next twenty to thirty years.

Earthquake drills and preparation programs typically center around “drop, take cover, and hold on” safety steps.  Children who live on the Pacific Rim of Fire, including in the city of Los Angeles, are trained at a young age to do just that.  California residents go about their day-to-day activities with some knowledge about what to do when the earth begins to tremble.  Even though we have seen many horrific images from locations hit hard by large-scale quakes (Haiti, Japan, Turkey, New Zealand and Chile), it is very easy to forget just how much catastrophic damage can occur from even relatively minor tremors.  Entire roofs collapse, buildings buckle and masonry walls separate from their foundations causing major injuries, or even loss of life.  We have even seen how the secondary effects of broken gas and water lines, along with fires and flooding, can also have incredibly devastating effects.  Most importantly, when strong seismic activity occurs, living conditions often are negatively impacted and the human casualties and financial costs become extremely distressing .

It is fairly common knowledge that only about 10% of the commercial/industrial buildings located on the West Coast are covered by earthquake insurance.  In most cases, it is not because the owners do not want coverage for their buildings; the real issue is that usually they cannot afford the premiums or they are unable to get a policy.  Insurance companies typically will not take the risk of insuring a building that does not meet safety codes – the risk is just too high.  Having your building go through an earthquake retrofitting process can save on earthquake insurance premiums sometimes up to 20-40%; it may even allow a policy to be written that originally was rejected.  Even the best preparation can’t entirely prevent damage costs in the event of a destructive earthquake, but insurance can certainly help defray some of the expense.  Retrofitting a building with earthquake anchors is a relatively inexpensive way to achieve insurable status.

So you may wonder, who should perform an earthquake retrofit?  General contractors are notorious for signing on to do whatever is asked, with or without the experience to back it up.  The key to a successful earthquake retrofit for any commercial building is to hire a contractor who has specific experience in earthquake retrofitting.  Without experience, chances are high that the contractor does not have a systematic approach, with well thought out strategies to get the project completed quickly, affordably and, most importantly, correctly.  General contractors may, in fact, subcontract the work out to another company.  When you hire a contractor who intends to sub the work out to others, you may not have any say about who is actually completing the work.  You can only hope that if the job goes to a subcontractor, those completing the work ARE experienced in retrofitting a commercial property.

The benefits of choosing a retrofit company with experienced installers:

  • No loss of business time if you choose a contractor experienced in occupied spaces

  • Better protection and anchoring of building

  • Increased chance of insurance savings or earthquake policy

  • Contractor that gives you a before-and-after insurance quote status so you can see the potential return on your investment

  • No secondary damage due to inexperienced contractors

Buildings constructed before the mid-1990’s probably were not built to withstand the forces of a powerful earthquake; many do not have sufficient anchors for the roof, walls, and foundation. Hiring a California retrofitting contractor who can provide you with a full inspection, along with comprehensive maintenance and repair services is the best way to strengthen your property before the next “BIG ONE” occurs.  Having confidence that the work was done professionally and accurately is necessary; you may not get a second chance.  It is so important to remember that if the job is not done correctly or thoroughly, you many not discover it until the building cracks or crumbles in an earthquake.

Don’t wait for stronger seismic activity to address the weaknesses in your commercial building!

Hazard removal and anchoring is a primary aspect of earthquake preparation for commercial properties.  Saunders Seismic Commercial Retrofit can complete a thorough, multi-faceted inspection of any commercial property and they can help plan and coordinate this large-scale maintenance project to ensure that tenants experience minimal disruptions in their day-to-day business activities.  In addition, Saunders Seismic Commercial Retrofit can provide building owners in Los Angeles, and throughout California, with an insurance quote based on present and after-retrofitting values.  If you are considering ways to ensure earthquake safety for your commercial property, always keep in mind that it is much more affordable and safe to retrofit a building before an earthquake rather than to repair expensive damages later.  Strengthening your commercial property is also the best way to become eligible for earthquake insurance or lower premiums.  To get more information on finding a contractor to help you save on earthquake insurance premiums and to strengthen your building overall, call the experienced team at Saunders Seismic Commercial Retrofit today!

Southern California Office

(949) 646-0034

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