Earthquake Proof Your Home in Metro Vancouver

Seismologists have expressed the concern that British Columbia is vulnerable in an event of an earthquake. We don’t know when this will happen. But we do live in a region where some of the largest earthquakes in the world occur.

In addition to our personal preparedness for “the big one”, we should also prepare our living space for this event.

Below is checklist of items needing attention:

  • Check if your house is bolted to its foundation? There should be anchor bolts installed every 6 feet along the sill plate.
  • Water heaters should be securely strapped to the wall, fastened directly to the studs. Water heaters are top heavy carrying a large volume of very hot water. The hot water lines and fuel lines connecting to this appliance may be break during the extreme movements of an earthquake. This is an extremely hazardous situation.
  • Consider securing other large appliances in case they topple.
  • Consider wall anchors or nylon straps to secure top-heavy furniture to prevent tipping
  • Fasten glass, mirrors and hanging objects securely on walls so they won’t fall off their hooks.
  • Flammable items and household chemicals should be kept away from heat and where they can’t spill.

If you live in a condo or apartment building, check with your building manager for expertise in earthquake proofing your home. You should also find out if the building complex has any emergency procedures in place.

This list is only a highlight of the many items that you may consider applying in order to earthquake proof your home. An earthquake in Metro Vancouver is an extreme possibility. Consult with Engineers, Architects, Insurance and/or other professionals for expert advice to make your house earthquake proof.

Keep in mind to have a 72 hour emergency preparedness kit available. Have the family get involved in creating a kit from scratch one rainy afternoon. There are also kits pre-packaged that you may purchase locally from companies such as Krasicki and Ward Be safe…by earthquake ready.


Earthquake Insurance in Metro Vancouver

Living in BC, the risk of a major earthquake is always on our minds. Even a minor earthquake can cause significant damage to our property.

In addition to taking all the precautions listed above, be sure your home insurance policy provides you with earthquake insurance. This will protect you against loss to your own property caused by an earthquake. As well, if you have to move out of your home or condo while repairs are being done to the building, you will need additional living expense insurance to cover the cost of your hotel, and any other additional expenses. This coverage will only apply if the underlying cause of the loss, earthquake, is covered as well.

If you own a condo, you could be assessed an amount to help cover the strata’s insurance deductible after an Earthquake. Even if you carry strata property deductible assessment coverage on your condo policy, your cover may not respond, if your policy doesn’t include coverage for earthquakes.

Make sure your home insurance includes earthquake protection, and rest easy. For more information on earthquake insurance, or to get a quote tailored to your unique needs, contact Square One Insurance.
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The intent of the above suggestions is to impart but a few of the many duties and responsibilities of a homeowner to maintain a house in safe and comfortable condition.  Some of the suggestions may not apply to specific regions and others may be missing. There are several books and agencies available to the home owner that may give more in depth details of the proper maintenance for your specific region or area of concern, the CMHC Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corporation is a good starting point for any reference materials, as are the Internet and Public Libraries.