It’s more than just a rhetorical question, it’s one that a lot of folks are probably wondering. Why front three or four thousand bucks, or more, to have some strangers work on your home; work, that may or may not have any beneficial purpose in our lifetime? Think about it. You’re going to write a check to someone for a whole lot of money, for them to invade your home anywhere from a couple of days to more than a week, depending on the scope of work required, make a lot of noise, create a big mess (that, by-the-way, will be cleaned up….), all for something that provides no visual stimulation, curb appeal, or immediate gratification or satisfaction.
Well, let’s flip the coin and look at this from another point of view….
Most of us own and drive a car. Every month, we get to fork over an exorbitant amount of money to some company based in IL, WI, CA, WA or NY for the purpose of protecting ourselves in case of an accident, theft, or other event that damages or renders or car, truck, or SUV unusable for whatever reason and for an indiscriminate period of time. Some of us pay more than others, but we all get to pay – that is, providing we own a vehicle. The costs vary based on deductibles, coverage, value, and how many miles we drive a day – and for what purpose. But why do we pay out this sum every month? Well, first off, we’re required to by the state, at least the minimum, called ‘Liability’. Our lien holders require us to have full coverage, which means more money out of our pockets. But I digress, I’m getting off on a tangent here.
We buy ‘car’ insurance on the premise that we will be ‘protected’, ‘covered’, or ‘insured’ if something were to happen to our vehicle. On the practical side, none of us get up in the morning, saying, “You know, I think I’m going to have an accident today, I’d better go buy more coverage on my car!” But, for all intents and purposes, we take that risk every time we get behind the wheel. We have no idea when another driver will lose control of their vehicle, lose their brakes, have a blow-out, fall asleep, speed, or, God forbid, intentionally ram their vehicle into yours. In a fantasy world, we wouldn’t need insurance, because we’d know when something were going to happen and we could prepare for it, avoid that area, hit our brakes, swerve, or just not leave the house that day. In reality, we have no clue.
The same goes for health insurance, life insurance, home owners insurance, etc… If we all had crystal balls that were, clear, concise, and prophetic on a regular basis, we might not have a need any of those coverages. Alas, we are all swirling around on this planet with no clue what the next minute will bring us, let alone, to what context, degree, or depth. What matters, is that YOU ARE COVERED. You’re insured. You’re protected.
The same holds true for a seismic retrofit for your home. The short term inconvenience of a group of people coming into your home with a bunch of noisy tools, drilling holes into your foundation, nailing, gluing, hammering, with compressors running, ideally, will have the beneficial affect of protecting your home. With the additional cost of earthquake insurance (on top of your homeowners coverage), high deductibles (anywhere from 10% – 25% of the policy’s coverage… if the policy coverage is for $500,000, you may be on the hook for up to the first $125,000 before the insurance company pays a penny), restrictions on the age of the structure, and limited coverage to periphery damages (fire caused as a direct result of the earthquake, slides, floods, etc…), knowing your home has a better-than-average-chance at successfully surviving an earthquake of almost any magnitude has got to provide you with something few other things can. PEACE OF MIND. It’s not a cost that you fork out month after month, year after year, hoping that when an earthquake does hit, you’ll be covered. A seismic retrofit, performed by a reputable company, correctly engineered, inspected, permitted, and approved, should be a one time expense. Once it’s done, it’s done.
So, why should you seismically retrofit your home? Like everything else in life, one of the only real constants is the unknown. Don’t put yourself in a situation where you say to yourself for the rest of your life, “I wish I would have….”. Give yourself and your family reason to say, “I’m glad I did….”.
Until next time! Be prepared!