Retrofitting Your Home is Equal to Insurance Savings

Newly issued law and bond proposals have raised awareness among residents in California about the need for seismic retrofitting. The San Francisco government is waiting for the voters to approve proposition A by November, which is a 350 million dollar bond to fund seismic upgrades to fire and health, as well as homeless facilities.

Meanwhile, a law requiring around 15,000 buildings to be retrofitted was enacted by the Los Angeles City Council to withstand violent shaking in case of a major earthquake. A notice has been issued to 13,500 soft-story building owners in the city to begin the retrofitting process.

The seismic measures are focused on rental properties and buildings. Insurance agents can make individual homeowners to invest in their properties’ safety measures by pointing out the affordable openings targeting seismic retrofits. The affordable housing proposal by California Assembly, if passed, could provide 30% income tax credits (personnel) for the cost incurred for earthquake retrofitting. Moreover, the California Residential Mitigation Program (CRMP) offers up to $3000 in incentives under their Earthquake Brace + Bolt initiative for the payment of seismic retrofit, but only to a limited number of qualified homeowners in higher earthquake prone areas.

The California Earthquake Authority (CEA) is also offering premium discounts of up to 20% for properties retrofitted old houses on earthquake insurance. CEA recently changed their Hazard Reduction Discount (HRD) criteria though, and now you could get a 5% discount for self verified retrofits, and 20% discount for earthquake retrofitting verified by a licensed engineer or contractor. Besides that, the factors that determine whether a household is eligible for HRD includes that:

  • It should be a single-family house built before 1979.
  • The construction should be made with wood-frame.
  • It should have a raised foundation and should not be a slab.
  • The foundation should have a frame secured to it.
  • The building’s frame should have a water heater secured to it.
  • The home must have been modified in agreement with California Building Code Standards, if it was made on post-and-pier foundation.
  • The walls should be braced, if the residence has cripple walls.

HRD is available for mobile homes as well, and offers up to an average discount of 23%, provided that it is reinforced by using California Department of Housing and Community Development certified earthquake resistant bracing system.

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