Rubble With a Mortgage

What could be worse than a devasting earthquake in the Bay Area? The day after, when we all realize that no one is covered by insurance.

The upshot of the statistic is that San Francisco and Alameda counties, even if the costs are spread over decades, will suffer deeper financial hits from a quake on average than most other parts of the state, with no mechanism in place to insure many of those probable losses.

Even so, this year, state insurance reform is a long way off, and Corbett is pushing retrofits instead. She is sponsoring a bill seeking a state tax credit and $4 million in funds for low- and middle-income people to retrofit their homes (currently, few cities offer tax incentives to perform costly retrofits of old houses; Corbett's bill is in committee). She has no specific thoughts on what incentives might be possible for providing better earthquake insurance, though she agrees it is a large problem.

So, politically, it will wait until the horse is out of the barn.

The 7.0 Loma Prieta quake hit the Marina hard in 1989. Despite such 
disasters, earthquake insurance remains a hard sell. Only 17 percent of 
California homeowners are covered.
Courtesy of TimePix
The 7.0 Loma Prieta quake hit the Marina hard in 1989. Despite such disasters, earthquake insurance remains a hard sell. Only 17 percent of California homeowners are covered.

"I think that's when we're going to get policy," says Comerio. "After a devastating earthquake. Where there's lots of damage, and no one is going to have insurance. That's when we'll have it. It's pretty classic."

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