Earthquakes have two major elements; P-waves and S-waves; the P-waves are the faster seismic waves which precede the heavier and more damaging S-waves. The warning system focuses on the P-waves in order to offer forewarning.
Early Warning Systems are not new, Mexico City has had a public warning system for 27 years and Japan has had a similar system for 13 years. The USGS began the development of ShakeAlert for California, Oregon and Washington states in 2012. The system is designed to broadcast findings when it senses an earthquake with magnitude 4.5 or above utilizing the cellular system and other broadcasting methods.
Although it is perceived that we may one day have a more reliable warning system, it is unlikely that the forewarning will be more than 5 – 20 seconds in advance of the damaging waves. This may be good news for saving lives but is not enough forewarning to secure property.
There is no better time than now to be prepared by insuring homes and personal property. Although there are only a few good programs available, there are many coverage options as well as many deductible options. Each homeowner has a unique appetite of risk; thus an insurance plan should be customized only to cover the desire of the property owner. Especially in the Western states of California, Oregon & Washington, it is essential to obtain an Earthquake Insurance Quote and ponder over whether earthquake insurance is worth obtaining.
Since Mortgage Companies do not require earthquake insurance, many experts suggest purchasing a stand alone policy not connected to homeowners insurance in order to omit the mortgage company from the earthquake policy. If a home has a mortgage and an earthquake claim is filed, the payout would normally be payable both to the Insured and the Mortgage Company if the Mortgage Company is listed on the earthquake insurance policy.