Re: Earthquake/disaster insurance
From: OC611NGC (
Date: Sat, 9 Aug 2008 17:23:52 -0700 (PDT)

A flood is a subset of uncontrolled water that damages private property. Water can damage a home, some of which may be from a flood (from naturally occurring water) and some of which may have been caused by failure of man-made facilities. The latter is not covered by flood insurance.

According to the standard concept of flood insurance, coverage is limited to water that damages property because of flooding of a natural stream or body of water. Broken water mains uphill of you do not qualify. Neither do burst pipes in your home nor overflowing bathtubs or washers.

Check out the following:

Norm Gauss

----- Original Message ----- From: "Anne Fleck" <solianna [at]>
To: "Cohousing-L" <cohousing-l [at]>
Sent: Saturday, August 09, 2008 16:41
Subject: Re: [C-L]_ Earthquake/disaster insurance

Sorry, but I gotta pitch in here. I live at Jackson Place in Seattle. We are on a fault line and a west-facing hill. The 6' diameter city water main runs
along our eastern edge - uphill from us. It is under so much pressure that
the water is running uphill at our point.

Admittedly, an unusual situation---- if that pipe breaks during an
earthquake we're toast but we're covered by our earthquake insurance. But if
it breaks for any other reason we'd have to have flood insurance to be
covered. I don't know if any of our members have that. The HOA doesn't.

I actually do know someone in Seattle who had their house flood from city
water pipes breaking during an earthquake. Also on a hill. And I know
someone who came home to 6" of sewage in his house when the pump failed on
the pipe - uphill from his house. Another story.

So it depends on the individual situation.


-----Original Message-----
From: OC611NGC [mailto:normangauss [at]]
Sent: Saturday, August 09, 2008 3:46 PM
To: Cohousing-L
Subject: Re: [C-L]_ Earthquake/disaster insurance


Your recommendation to get flood insurance only applies to communities whose development is on low-lying lands near streams or bodies of water. If your
development is built on a hill such as most buildings in San Francisco,
flood insurance would be a waste of money.

My community's buildings are situated more than a hundred feet above the
Salinas River in Paso Robles. We have two drainageways flowing through our
14 acres within deep arroyos at least 30 vertical feet above the maximum
level of any flowing water.  Downhill from us there are large housing
developments built on the banks of the Salinas River.  I would recommend
flood insurance for them, but not for us.

Check with your local flood control district before spending any money on
flood insurance.

Norm Gauss

----- Original Message -----
From: <dahako [at]>
To: <cohousing-l [at]>
Sent: Saturday, August 09, 2008 13:56
Subject: Re: [C-L]_ Earthquake/disaster insurance


I cannot emphasize this enough: get flood insurance for homes and common
areas whether or not you are in a 100 year floodplain.? Floods are the
single most common disaster and they happen every year to people who never thought they'd flood.? And your regular insurance does not cover floods in
the US.

Get earthquake insurance if you are in a seismically active area.? Pay
attention to what you will need for deductibles.?

Get replacement value homeowners or renters insurance. Make sure to
regularly (every couple of years) check on the value of your property
versus the cap on the replacement amount your insurer will pay. This goes
triple if you are a condo type multi-unit development or building rather
than simple single family.

Build your buildings to deal with the issues likely in your area.? If you
may get high winds, get the right windows, building anchors, roof
construction, and garage doors.? Don't build in a 100 year? floodplain, it
is a sucker's bet given the current projected ocean level increases and
the increasing flukiness of the weather.

If you are in a condo, talk about what people will do in case the building
suffers major or severe damage.? Condos are one of the most difficult
rebuilding challenges after a disaster unless all the members almost
instantly support the board so it can get a developer to do the
reconstruction quickly before the banks call the mortgages.

Be smart.

Jessie Handforth Kome
Eastern Village Cohousing
Silver Spring, Maryland
And, once again, I am expressing my own opinions and in no way
representing my employer.

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