We’ve recently seen news about intentional power outages in Northern California due to high winds creating a potential fire hazard. These Santa Ana winds often impact Southern California, so we wanted to remind you to be prepared. If you live in San Diego, you likely remember the power outage that happened in 2011. That power outage was a unique experience and many of us even remember where we were and how we responded to it. According to SDG&E, 1.4 million customers in San Diego and Orange counties were affected during that outage. When it happened, most of us weren’t aware of the magnitude and you may have also learned that you were not as prepared as you could have been.
While some were driving on nearly empty gas tanks in heavy traffic due to the chaos of the moment, others found themselves having no source of light in their homes as the sun was setting. These events help us realize how reliant we are on technology and electricity. While it’s important to be prepared for a one-time event, it’s also important to adopt general safety practices. We want you to keep your families and homes safe, so we have outlined how you can be more prepared.
Take steps to stay safe and protect your home in advance by doing the following:
- Keep fuel in your gas tank at all times and fill up before you see the low gas light.
- Have an evacuation plan that you and your family understand and agree on. If you have young children, it is especially important to practice your evacuation plan.
- Have access to proper footwear in the event you need to evacuate from your current location. (It’s difficult to navigate flights of stairs while wearing heels.)
- Store valuable documents offsite or upload copies on our secure CCMI online vault.
- Prepare an emergency kit filled with provisions that would last for one to two weeks. Your kit may include:
- cash, food, water, first aid supplies, flashlight, batteries, medication, clothing, and a radio
While we can be prepared for unexpected natural disasters, we also need to be prepared for unexpected disasters at home. An example of an unexpected disaster at home would be water damage – most likely you have experienced water damage before or know someone who has. Property loss from water occurs six times more often than theft and seven times more often than fire. Failure of a plumbing supply system is the #1 cause of non-weather related water losses (e.g. pipes bursting or leaky supply lines).
One way you can prevent home disasters from occurring is with annual maintenance such as having a professional inspect water supply lines or your roof, gutter cleaning, and replacing rubber hoses with steel braided hoses. Other ways to prevent water damage is by installing protection devices such as a water leak detection device and installing a water main shutoff valve.
As San Diegans, you should prepare for a possible earthquake by securing heavy furniture to walls, and secure electronics and valuable possessions. Every family member should know where the gas valve is in the event you may need to turn it off. Also, you may consider getting a seismic gas shutoff valve to protect against fires if the gas line ruptures during an earthquake.
Have Proper Coverage
Part of the process in making sure you are prepared is to also make sure you are protected. You should review your insurance policies to ensure that there are no gaps in your coverage. Please note that as a fee-only firm, we do not sell insurance but recommend reviewing your policies with your insurance professional. First, it’s important to select a reputable insurance company with a strong financial rating. Then, you want to be sure that you have a comprehensive policy with broad coverage in place. Additionally, you should obtain insurance riders for valuables like jewelry or other collectibles as they are not typically covered under basic homeowner’s insurance policies.
Earthquake policies have become more flexible and affordable over recent years. The more equity you have in your home, the more important it is to have coverage. Your basic homeowner’s policy will not cover damage due to an earthquake. You can choose a higher deductible plan to make the policy more affordable while providing some financial relief in the event of significant earthquake damage.
It is also important to know that flood insurance is a separate policy which should be considered if you live in an area that may be subject to flooding.
While we don’t sell insurance at CCMI, we want to make sure our families, friends and clients are safe and that their assets are protected. We never know when these events may occur and we don’t want to leave things to chance. If you need assistance with your insurance questions, we would be happy to help or point you in the right direction.
CCMI provides personalized fee-only financial planning and investment management services to business owners, professionals, individuals and families in San Diego and throughout the country. CCMI has a team of CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNERTM professionals who act as fiduciaries, which means our clients’ interests always come first.
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