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How Much Life Insurance Do I Need?

Insurance_InsurancePolicyAndMoneyIn most cases, if you have no dependents and have enough money to pay your final expenses, you don’t need any life insurance.

If you want to create an inheritance or make a charitable contribution, buy enough life insurance to achieve those goals.

If you have dependents, buy enough life insurance so that, when combined with other sources of income, it will replace the income you now generate for them, plus enough to offset any additional expenses they will incur to replace services you provide (for a simple example, if you do your own taxes, the survivors might have to hire a professional tax preparer). Also, your family might need extra money to make some changes after you die. For example, they may want to relocate, or your spouse may need to go back to school to be in a better position to help support the family.

You should also plan to replace “hidden income” that would be lost at death. Hidden income is income that you receive through your employment but that isn’t part of your gross wages. It includes things like your employer’s subsidy of your health insurance premium, the matching contribution to your 401(k) plan, and many other “perks,” large and small. This is an often-overlooked insurance need: the cost of replacing just your health insurance and retirement contributions could be the equivalent of $2,000 per month or more.

Of course, you should also plan for expenses that arise at death. These include the funeral costs, taxes and administrative costs associated with “winding up” an estate and passing property to heirs. At a minimum, plan for $15,000.

Other sources of income

Most families have some sources of post-death income besides life insurance. The most common source is Social Security survivors’ benefits.

Social Security survivors’ benefits can be substantial. For example, for a 35-year-old person who was earning a $36,000 salary at death, maximum Social Security survivors’ monthly income benefits for a spouse and two children under age 18 could be about $2,400 per month, and this amount would increase each year to match inflation. (It drops slightly when the survivors are a spouse and one child under 18, and stops completely when there are no children under 18. Also, the surviving spouse’s benefit would be reduced if he or she earns income over a certain limit.)

Many also have life insurance through an employer plan, and some from another affiliation, such as through an association they belong to or a credit card. If you have a vested pension benefit, it might have a death component. Although these sources might provide a lot of income, they rarely provide enough. And it probably isn’t wise to count on death benefits that are connected with a particular job, since you might die after switching to a different job, or while you are unemployed.

A multiple of salary?

Many pundits recommend buying life insurance equal to a multiple of your salary. For example, one financial advice columnist recommends buying insurance equal to 20 times your salary before taxes. She chose 20 because, if the benefit is invested in bonds that pay 5 percent interest, it would produce an amount equal to your salary at death, so the survivors could live off the interest and wouldn’t have to “invade” the principal.

However, this simplistic formula implicitly assumes no inflation and assumes that one could assemble a bond portfolio that, after expenses, would provide a 5 percent interest stream every year. But assuming inflation is 3 percent per year, the purchasing power of a gross income of $50,000 would drop to about $38,300 in the 10th year. To avoid this income drop-off, the survivors would have to “invade” the principal each year. And if they did, they would run out of money in the 16th year.

The “multiple of salary” approach also ignores other sources of income, such as those mentioned previously.

A simple example

Suppose a surviving spouse didn’t work and had two children, ages 4 and 1, in her care. Suppose her deceased husband earned $36,000 at death and was covered by Social Security but had no other death benefits or life insurance. Assume the surviving spouse is 36.

Assume that the deceased spent $6,000 from income on his own living expenses and the cost of working. Assume, for simplicity, that the deceased performed services for the family (such as property maintenance, income tax and other financial management, and occasional child care) for which the survivors will need to pay $6,000 per year. Assume that the survivors will have to buy health insurance to replace the coverage the deceased had at work, and that this will cost $12,000 per year.

Taken together, the survivors will need to replace the equivalent of $48,000 of income, adjusted each year for an assumed 4 percent inflation.

Thanks to Social Security, the survivors would need life insurance to replace only about $1,700 per month of lost wage income (adjusted for inflation) for 14 years until the older child reaches 18; Social Security would provide the rest. The survivors would need life insurance to replace about $2,100 per month (adjusted for inflation) for three more years when the non-working surviving spouse has only one child under 18 in her care.

The life insurance amount needed today to provide the $1,700 and $2,100 monthly amounts is roughly $360,000. Adding $15,000 for funeral and other final expenses brings the minimum life insurance needed for the example to $375,000.

What’s left out?

The example leaves out some potentially significant unmet financial needs, such as

  • The surviving spouse will have no income from Social Security from age 53 until 60 unless the deceased buys additional life insurance to cover this period. It could be assumed that the surviving spouse will obtain a job at or before this time, but she could also become disabled or otherwise unable to work. If life insurance were bought for this period, the additional amount of insurance needed would be about $335,000.
  • Some people like to plan to use life insurance to pay off the home mortgage at the primary income earner’s death, so that the survivors are less likely to face the threat of losing their home. If life insurance were bought for this goal, the additional amount of insurance needed is the amount of the unpaid balance on the mortgage.
  • Some people like to provide money to pay to send their children to college out of their life insurance. We may assume that each child will attend a public college for four years and will need $15,000 per year. However, college costs have been rising faster than inflation for many decades, and this trend is unlikely to slow down. If life insurance were bought for this goal, the additional amount of insurance needed would be about $200,000.
  • In the example, no money is planned for the surviving spouse’s retirement, except for what the spouse would be entitled to receive from Social Security (about $1,200 per month). It could be assumed that the surviving spouse will obtain a job and will either participate in an employer’s retirement plan or save with an IRA, but she could also become disabled or otherwise unable to work. If life insurance were bought to provide the equivalent of $4000 per month starting at age 60 until 65 and $3,000 per month from 65 on (because at 65 Medicare will make carrying private health insurance unnecessary), the additional amount of insurance needed would be about $465,000.

Source: Insurance Information Institute, “How much life insurance do I need?“ http://www.iii.org website. Accessed July 28, 2014. http://www.iii.org/article/how-much-life-insurance-do-i-need

© Copyright 2014. All rights reserved. This content is strictly for informational purposes and although experts have prepared it, the reader should not substitute this information for professional insurance advice. If you have any questions, please consult your insurance professional before acting on any information presented. Read more.

What Are The Principal Types Of Life Insurance?

Insurance_LifeInsuranceFileFolderThere are two major types of life insurance—term and whole life. Whole life is sometimes called permanent life insurance, and it encompasses several subcategories, including traditional whole life, universal life, variable life and variable universal life. In 2003, about 6.4 million individual life insurance policies bought were term and about 7.1 million were whole life.

Life insurance products for groups are different from life insurance sold to individuals. The information below focuses on life insurance sold to individuals.

Term

Term Insurance is the simplest form of life insurance. It pays only if death occurs during the term of the policy, which is usually from one to 30 years. Most term policies have no other benefit provisions.

There are two basic types of term life insurance policies—level term and decreasing term.

  • Level term means that the death benefit stays the same throughout the duration of the policy.
  • Decreasing term means that the death benefit drops, usually in one-year increments, over the course of the policy’s term.

In 2003, virtually all (97 percent) of the term life insurance bought was level term.

For more on the different types of term life insurance, click here.

Whole Life/Permanent

Whole life or permanent insurance pays a death benefit whenever you die—even if you live to 100! There are three major types of whole life or permanent life insurance—traditional whole life, universal life, and variable universal life, and there are variations within each type.

In the case of traditional whole life, both the death benefit and the premium are designed to stay the same (level) throughout the life of the policy. The cost per $1,000 of benefit increases as the insured person ages, and it obviously gets very high when the insured lives to 80 and beyond. The insurance company could charge a premium that increases each year, but that would make it very hard for most people to afford life insurance at advanced ages. So the company keeps the premium level by charging a premium that, in the early years, is higher than what’s needed to pay claims, investing that money, and then using it to supplement the level premium to help pay the cost of life insurance for older people.

By law, when these “overpayments” reach a certain amount, they must be available to the policyholder as a cash value if he or she decides not to continue with the original plan. The cash value is an alternative, not an additional, benefit under the policy.

In the 1970s and 1980s, life insurance companies introduced two variations on the traditional whole life product—universal life insurance and variable universal life insurance.

For more on the different types of whole life/permanent insurance, click here.

Source: Insurance Information Institute, “What are the principal types of life insurance?” http://www.iii.org website. Accessed July 28, 2014. http://www.iii.org/article/what-are-principal-types-life-insurance

© Copyright 2014. All rights reserved. This content is strictly for informational purposes and although experts have prepared it, the reader should not substitute this information for professional insurance advice. If you have any questions, please consult your insurance professional before acting on any information presented. Read more.

Social Host Liability

Misc_WarningTapeBe a Responsible Host When It Comes to Serving Alcohol at Parties

Whether you are hosting a Super Bowl party or greeting the New Year with friends in your home, if you are planning to serve alcohol at any type of party it is important to take steps to limit your liquor liability and make sure you have the proper insurance.

Social host liability, the legal term for the criminal and civil responsibility of a person who furnishes liquor to a guest, can have a serious impact on party throwers. Social host liability, also known as “Dram Shop Liability” laws vary widely from state to state, but 43 states have them on the books. Most of these laws also offer an injured person, such as the victim of a drunk driver, a method to sue the person who served the alcohol. There are circumstances under these laws where criminal charges may also apply.

While a social host is not liable for injuries sustained by a drunken guest (as they are also negligent), the host can be held liable for third parties, and may even be liable for passengers of the guest who have been injured in their car.

Before planning a party in your home, it is important to speak with your insurance agent or company representative about your homeowners coverage and any exclusions, conditions or limitations your policy might have for this kind of risk. Homeowners insurance usually provides some liquor liability coverage, but it is typically limited to $100,000 to $300,000, depending on the policy, which might not be enough.

Most importantly, whether you are hanging out with a small group of friends for cocktails or throwing a big family bash, remember that a good host is a responsible host, and takes steps to ensure guests get home safely if they have been drinking.

How to Protect Yourself and Your Guests

If you plan to serve alcohol at a party the I.I.I. offers the following tips to promote safe alcohol consumption and reduce your social host liability exposure:

  • Make sure you understand your state laws. Before sending out party invitations, familiarize yourself with your state’s social host liability laws. These laws vary widely from state to state. Some states do not impose any liability on social hosts. Others limit liability to injuries that occur on the host’s premises. Some extend the host’s liability to injuries that occur anywhere a guest who has consumed alcohol goes. Many states have laws that pertain specifically to furnishing alcohol to minors.
  • Consider venues other than your home for the party. Hosting your party at a restaurant or bar with a liquor license, rather than at your home, will help minimize liquor liability risks.
  • Hire a professional bartender. Most bartenders are trained to recognize signs of intoxication and are better able to limit consumption by partygoers.
  • Encourage guests to pick a designated driver who will refrain from drinking alcoholic beverages so that he or she can drive other guests home.
  • Be a responsible host/hostess. Limit your own alcohol intake so that you will be better able to judge your guests’ sobriety.
  • Offer non-alcoholic beverages and always serve food. Eating and drinking plenty of water, or other non-alcoholic beverages, can help counter the effects of alcohol.
  • Do not pressure guests to drink or rush to refill their glasses when empty. And never serve alcohol to guests who are visibly intoxicated.
  • Stop serving liquor toward the end of the evening. Switch to coffee, tea and soft drinks.
  • If guests drink too much or seem too tired to drive home, call a cab, arrange a ride with a sober guest or have them sleep at your home.
  • Encourage all your guests to wear seatbelts as they drive home. Studies show that seatbelts save lives.

Source: Insurance Information Institute, “Social Host Liability” http://www.iii.org website. Accessed September 11, 2014. http://www.iii.org/article/social-host-liability

© Copyright 2014. All rights reserved. This content is strictly for informational purposes and although experts have prepared it, the reader should not substitute this information for professional insurance advice. If you have any questions, please consult your insurance professional before acting on any information presented. Read more.

Holiday Party Etiquette: A Good Host Is a Responsible Host When It Comes to Serving Alcohol

 Transportaion_Events-Holidays_People_Misc_CocktailsAndKeysThanksgiving marks the beginning of holiday season and for many that means party time. But hosts who serve alcohol should take steps to limit their liquor liability and make sure they have the proper insurance, according to the Insurance Information Institute (I.I.I.).

Social host liability, the legal term for the criminal and civil responsibility of a person who furnishes liquor to a guest, can have a serious impact on party throwers. Social host liability, also known as “Dram Shop Liability” laws vary widely from state to state, but 43 states have them on the books. Most of these laws also offer an injured person, such as the victim of a drunk driver, a method to sue the person who served the alcohol. There are circumstances under these laws where criminal charges may also apply.

“Because you can be held legally responsible for your guests’ actions after they leave your party, hosts need to be particularly careful,” said Loretta Worters, vice president of the I.I.I. “While a social host is not liable for injuries sustained by the drunken guest (as they are also negligent), the host can be held liable for third parties, and may even be liable for passengers of the guest who have been injured in their car.”

Before planning a party in your home, it is important to speak with your insurance agent or company representative about your homeowners coverage and any exclusions, conditions or limitations your policy might have for this kind of risk. Homeowners insurance usually provides some liquor liability coverage, but it is typically limited to $100,000 to $300,000, depending on the policy, which might not be enough.

Whether you are hanging out with a small group of friends for cocktails or throwing a big family bash, remember that a good host is a responsible host, and needs to take steps to ensure guests get home safely if they have been drinking.

How to Protect Yourself and Your Guests

If you plan to serve alcohol at a holiday party the I.I.I. offers the following tips to promote safe alcohol consumption and reduce your social host liability exposure:

  • Make sure you understand your state laws. Before sending out party invitations, familiarize yourself with your state’s social host liability laws. These laws vary widely from state to state. Some states do not impose any liability on social hosts. Others limit liability to injuries that occur on the host’s premises. Some extend the host’s liability to injuries that occur anywhere a guest who has consumed alcohol goes. Many states have laws that pertain specifically to furnishing alcohol to minors.
  • Consider venues other than your home for the party.Hosting your party at a restaurant or bar with a liquor license, rather than at your home, will help minimize liquor liability risks.
  • Hire a professional bartender. Most bartenders are trained to recognize signs of intoxication and are better able to limit consumption by partygoers.
  • Encourage guests to pick a designated driver who will refrain from drinking alcoholic beverages so that he or she can drive other guests home.
  • Be a responsible host/hostess. Limit your own alcohol intake so that you will be better able to judge your guests’ sobriety.
  • Offer non-alcoholic beverages and always serve food. Eating and drinking plenty of water, or other non-alcoholic beverages, can help counter the effects of alcohol.
  • Do not pressure guests to drink or rush to refill their glasses when empty. And never serve alcohol to guests who are visibly intoxicated.
  • Stop serving liquor toward the end of the evening. Switch to coffee, tea and soft drinks.
  • If guests drink too much or seem too tired to drive home, call a cab, arrange a ride with a sober guest or have them sleep at your home.
  • Encourage all your guests to wear seatbelts as they drive home. Studies show that seatbelts save lives.

Source: Insurance Information Institute, “Holiday Party Etiquette: A Good Host Is a Responsible Host When It Comes to Serving Alcohol” http://www.iii.org website. Accessed July 18, 2014. http://www.iii.org/press-release/holiday-party-etiquette-good-host-responsible-host-when-it-comes-serving-alcohol

© Copyright 2014 intouch Business, Inc. All rights reserved. Certain names and articles used with permission of owners. Trade names mentioned herein are owned by third parties.

Is Your Company Hosting A Holiday Party?

Holiday_People_Dinner-BBQParty It is the holiday season, a time for office parties and charity events. While gatherings can provide opportunities for professionals to mingle casually with their co-workers and clients and can help boost employee morale, they can also prove to be a liability for businesses that serve alcohol. That is why businesses should take reasonable precautions to prevent any risks and financially protect themselves by making sure they have the proper insurance, warned the Insurance Information Institute (I.I.I.).

Forty-four states plus the District of Columbia have enacted liquor liability laws. These laws make it possible for a plaintiff to hold those who serve alcohol to an intoxicated or underage person responsible for any damage or injury caused by these same individuals after they leave the party. Most of these laws also offer an injured person, such as the victim of a drunk driver, a method to sue the person who served the alcohol. There are circumstances under these same state laws where criminal charges may also apply.

Liquor liability laws were intended originally to apply to taverns, bars, and other establishments selling and serving alcohol. However, the liability laws have expanded over time to include “social hosts” (such as those holding a holiday party in their home or business) in some states giving them some exposure to the risk of liability for serving alcohol.

“In many states you can be held legally responsible for your employees’ actions after they leave the party,” said Loretta Worters, vice president of the I.I.I. “If you are throwing an office party where alcohol is served, you have a responsibility to make sure that your employees are capable of driving safely.”

Worters noted that when business owners host a holiday party and serve alcohol as part of the festivities, liquor liability would most likely be covered by their commercial general liability (CGL) policy. “It’s best to check with your insurance agent or broker first,” she said, adding, that “if an employee becomes intoxicated and assaults another employee at the party, the incident might be excluded under the CGL policy.”

In addition to a CGL policy, businesses should also consider purchasing an Employment Practices Liability Insurance (EPLI) policy. An EPLI policy will protect a business from discrimination, sexual harassment, emotional distress, and other workplace-related issues. When you buy the coverage, make sure it includes “third-party” coverage. Third-party coverage refers to claims made by non-employees, usually clients or customers, who allege that an employee engaged in wrongful conduct such as sexual harassment or discrimination. This can be important coverage, for example, if someone in management has had too much to drink and makes an inappropriate overture to a client or customer. Without a specific policy endorsement for third-party claims, EPLI policy forms do not cover these types of exposures.

“Even innocent flirting or touching can be misconstrued and result in a lawsuit,” explained Worters.

In addition to overtly inappropriate behavior, if someone puts a video clip or picture on YouTube or Facebook that could result in reputational harm, it is also covered under an EPL policy.

Over the years, office parties have changed considerably. Alcohol used to flow freely, and employers would sometimes overlook inappropriate conduct, explaining away bad party behavior without taking any action. Today, lawsuits are so rampant that some companies have concluded office parties involving alcohol are not worth the risk.

If you plan to host a holiday party at which you will be serving alcohol, the I.I.I. offers the following tips to prevent a lawsuit:

  1. Advise employees to be responsible. Include a statement on the party invitation and/or circulate a written reminder to all concerned on the responsibilities to drink only in moderation and to avoid driving after drinking.
  2. Emphasize to management that they must lead by example.
  3. Hold the party at an offsite location. If problems do arise, it is better that they occur away from the business premises. Depending on the state, the liability will generally be on the restaurant than the company. However, it is not unusual for an employer to be named as a defendant in a civil lawsuit if an intoxicated employee leaves any company-sponsored event and injures himself or herself or another person as a result.
  4. Do not pay for alcoholic drinks. Guest will drink less if they have to pay for the drinks themselves.
  5. If you feel you must furnish alcoholic beverages, consider a drink voucher system to limit the number of drinks served. Or, serve alcohol for only a short period.
  6. Consider hiring a professional bartender. Most bartenders are trained to recognize signs of intoxication and will limit consumption by partygoers.
  7. Offer non-alcoholic beverages and always serve food. It is proven that food can help counter the effects of alcohol.
  8. Do not serve alcohol to minors.
  9. Stop serving liquor toward the end of the evening and switch to coffee, tea and soft drinks.
  10. Arrange alternative transportation. Anticipate the need for alternative transportation for all employees and guests and make special transportation arrangements in advance of the party. Encourage all employees and guests to make use of the alternative transportation if they consume any alcohol.

Worters advised business owners to talk with their insurance agent or company representative about their liability insurance coverage and any exclusions, conditions or limitations to their policies for this kind of risk. “Appropriate liability insurance coverage is necessary. In some cases special event coverage may be available that will cover both liquor liability and other liability exposures specific to the event.”

Source: Insurance Information Institute, “Is Your Company Hosting a Holiday Party? I.I.I. Offers 10 Ways to Protect Your Business” http://www.iii.org website. Accessed July 18, 2014. http://www.iii.org/press-release/your-company-hosting-holiday-party-iii-offers-10-ways-protect-your-business

© Copyright 2014. All rights reserved. This content is strictly for informational purposes and although experts have prepared it, the reader should not substitute this information for professional insurance advice. If you have any questions, please consult your insurance professional before acting on any information presented. Read more.

How To Choose The Right Type Of Life Insurance

People_Familyof4Choosing the right type of life insurance can be confusing, but it’s also an important decision. Here are some guidelines that can help you narrow down your best life insurance options.

You should consider term life insurance if:

  • You need life insurance for a specific period of time. Term life insurance enables you to match the length of the term policy to the length of the need. For example, if you have young children and want to ensure that there will be funds to pay for their college education, you might buy 20-year term life insurance. Or if you want the insurance to repay a debt that will be paid off in a specified time period, buy a term policy for that period.
  • You need a large amount of life insurance, but have a limited budget. In general, this type of insurance pays only if you die during the term of the policy, so the rate per thousand of death benefit is lower than for permanent forms of life insurance. If you are still alive at the end of the term, coverage stops unless the policy is renewed or a new one bought. Unlike permanent insurance, you will not typically build equity in the form of cash savings.

If you think your financial needs may change, you may also want to look into “convertible” term policies. These allow you to convert to permanent insurance without a medical examination in exchange for higher premiums.

Keep in mind that premiums are lowest when you are young and increase upon renewal as you age. Some term insurance policies can be renewed when the policy ends, but the premium will generally increase. Some policies require a medical examination at renewal to qualify for the lowest rates.

You should consider permanent life insurance if:

  • You need life insurance for as long as you live. A permanent policy pays a death benefit whether you die tomorrow or live to be over 100.
  • You want to accumulate a savings element that will grow on a tax-deferred basis and could be a source of borrowed funds for a variety of purposes. The savings element can be used to pay premiums to keep the life insurance in force if you can’t pay them otherwise, or it can be used for any other purpose you choose. You can borrow these funds even if your credit is shaky. The death benefit is collateral for the loan, and if you die before it’s repaid, the insurance company collects what is due the company before determining what’s goes to your beneficiary.

Keep in mind that premiums for permanent policies are generally higher than for term insurance. However, the premium in a permanent policy remains the same no matter how old you are, while term can go up substantially every time you renew it.

There are a number of different types of permanent insurance policies, such as whole (ordinary) life, universal life, variable life, and variable/universal life. For more details, see our articles on the specific types of policies.

RELATED LINKS

 

Source: Insurance Information Institute, “How to Choose the Right Type of Life Insurance” http://www.iii.org website. Accessed July 11, 2014. http://www.iii.org/article/how-choose-right-type-life-insurance

© Copyright 2014. All rights reserved. This content is strictly for informational purposes and although experts have prepared it, the reader should not substitute this information for professional insurance advice. If you have any questions, please consult your insurance professional before acting on any information presented. Read more.

Before An Earthquake

Misc_EmergencyKitThe following are things you can do to protect yourself, your family and your property in the event of an earthquake.

  • To begin preparing, you should build an emergency kit and make a family communications plan.
  • Fasten shelves securely to walls.
  • Place large or heavy objects on lower shelves.
  • Store breakable items such as bottled foods, glass, and china in low, closed cabinets with latches.
  • Fasten heavy items such as pictures and mirrors securely to walls and away from beds, couches and anywhere people sit.
  • Brace overhead light fixtures and top heavy objects.
  • Repair defective electrical wiring and leaky gas connections. These are potential fire risks. Get appropriate professional help. Do not work with gas or electrical lines yourself.
  • Install flexible pipe fittings to avoid gas or water leaks. Flexible fittings are more resistant to breakage.
  • Secure your water heater, refrigerator, furnace and gas appliances by strapping them to the wall studs and bolting to the floor. If recommended by your gas company, have an automatic gas shut-off valve installed that is triggered by strong vibrations.
  • Repair any deep cracks in ceilings or foundations. Get expert advice if there are signs of structural defects.
  • Be sure the residence is firmly anchored to its foundation.
  • Store weed killers, pesticides, and flammable products securely in closed cabinets with latches and on bottom shelves.
  • Locate safe spots in each room under a sturdy table or against an inside wall. Reinforce this information by moving to these places during each drill.
  • Hold earthquake drills with your family members: Drop, cover and hold on.

Know the Terms

Familiarize yourself with these terms to help identify an earthquake hazard:

Aftershock – An earthquake of similar or lesser intensity that follows the main earthquake.

Earthquake – A sudden slipping or movement of a portion of the earth’s crust, accompanied and followed by a series of vibrations.

Epicenter – The place on the earth’s surface directly above the point on the fault where the earthquake rupture began. Once fault slippage begins, it expands along the fault during the earthquake and can extend hundreds of miles before stopping.

Fault – The fracture across which displacement has occurred during an earthquake. The slippage may range from less than an inch to more than 10 yards in a severe earthquake.

Magnitude – The amount of energy released during an earthquake, which is computed from the amplitude of the seismic waves. A magnitude of 7.0 on the Richter Scale indicates an extremely strong earthquake. Each whole number on the scale represents an increase of about 30 times more energy released than the previous whole number represents. Therefore, an earthquake measuring 6.0 is about 30 times more powerful than one measuring 5.0.

Seismic Waves – Vibrations that travel outward from the earthquake fault at speeds of several miles per second. Although fault slippage directly under a structure can cause considerable damage, the vibrations of seismic waves cause most of the destruction during earthquakes.

 

Source: FEMA , “Before an Earthquake” http://www.ready.gov website. Accessed July 3, 2014. http://www.ready.gov/earthquakes

© Copyright 2014. All rights reserved. This content is strictly for informational purposes and although experts have prepared it, the reader should not substitute this information for professional insurance advice. If you have any questions, please consult your insurance professional before acting on any information presented. Read more.

During An Earthquake

Disaster_EvacuationRouteDrop, cover and Hold On. Minimize your movements to a few steps to a nearby safe place and if you are indoors, stay there until the shaking has stopped and you are sure exiting is safe.

If Indoors

  • DROP to the ground; take COVER by getting under a sturdy table or other piece of furniture; and HOLD ON until the shaking stops. If there isn’t a table or desk near you, cover your face and head with your arms and crouch in an inside corner of the building.
  • Stay away from glass, windows, outside doors and walls, and anything that could fall, such as lighting fixtures or furniture.
  • Stay in bed if you are there when the earthquake strikes. Hold on and protect your head with a pillow, unless you are under a heavy light fixture that could fall. In that case, move to the nearest safe place.
  • Do not use a doorway except if you know it is a strongly supported, load-bearing doorway and it is close to you. Many inside doorways are lightly constructed and do not offer protection.
  • Stay inside until the shaking stops and it is safe to go outside. Do not exit a building during the shaking. Research has shown that most injuries occur when people inside buildings attempt to move to a different location inside the building or try to leave.
  • DO NOT use the elevators.
  • Be aware that the electricity may go out or the sprinkler systems or fire alarms may turn on.

If Outdoors

  • Stay there.
  • Move away from buildings, streetlights, and utility wires.
  • Once in the open, stay there until the shaking stops. The greatest danger exists directly outside buildings, at exits and alongside exterior walls. Many of the 120 fatalities from the 1933 Long Beach earthquake occurred when people ran outside of buildings only to be killed by falling debris from collapsing walls. Ground movement during an earthquake is seldom the direct cause of death or injury. Most earthquake-related casualties result from collapsing walls, flying glass, and falling objects.

If in a Moving Vehicle

  • Stop as quickly as safety permits and stay in the vehicle. Avoid stopping near or under buildings, trees, overpasses, and utility wires.
  • Proceed cautiously once the earthquake has stopped. Avoid roads, bridges, or ramps that might have been damaged by the earthquake.

If Trapped Under Debris

  • Do not light a match.
  • Do not move about or kick up dust.
  • Cover your mouth with a handkerchief or clothing.
  • Tap on a pipe or wall so rescuers can locate you. Use a whistle if one is available. Shout only as a last resort. Shouting can cause you to inhale dangerous amounts of dust.

 

Source: FEMA , “During an Earthquake” http://www.ready.gov website. Accessed July 3, 2014. http://www.ready.gov/earthquakes

© Copyright 2014. All rights reserved. This content is strictly for informational purposes and although experts have prepared it, the reader should not substitute this information for professional insurance advice. If you have any questions, please consult your insurance professional before acting on any information presented. Read more.

After An Earthquake

  • Disaster_EarthquakeCracksWhen the shaking stops, look around to make sure it is safe to move. Then exit the building.
  • Expect aftershocks. These secondary shockwaves are usually less violent than the main quake but can be strong enough to do additional damage to weakened structures and can occur in the first hours, days, weeks, or even months after the quake.
  • Help injured or trapped persons. Remember to help your neighbors who may require special assistance such as infants, the elderly and people with access and functional needs. Give first aid where appropriate. Do not move seriously injured persons unless they are in immediate danger of further injury. Call for help.
  • Look for and extinguish small fires. Fire is the most common hazard after an earthquake.
  • Listen to a battery-operated radio or television for the latest emergency information.
  • Be aware of possible tsunamis if you live in coastal areas. These are also known as seismic sea waves (mistakenly called “tidal waves”). When local authorities issue a tsunami warning, assume that a series of dangerous waves is on the way. Stay away from the beach.
  • Use the telephone only for emergency calls.
  • Go to a designated public shelter if your home had been damaged and is no longer safe. Text SHELTER + your ZIP code to 43362 (4FEMA) to find the nearest shelter in your area (example: shelter 12345).
  • Stay away from damaged areas. Stay away unless your assistance has been specifically requested by police, fire, or relief organizations. Return home only when authorities say it is safe.
  • Be careful when driving after an earthquake and anticipate traffic light outages.
  • After it is determined that its’ safe to return, your safety should be your primary priority as you begin clean up and recovery.
  • Open cabinets cautiously. Beware of objects that can fall off shelves.
  • Find out how to keep food safe during and after and emergency by visiting: http://www.foodsafety.gov/keep/emergency/index.html
  • Put on long pants, a long-sleeved shirt, sturdy shoes and work gloves to protect against injury from broken objects.
  • Clean up spilled medicines, bleaches, gasoline or other flammable liquids immediately. Leave the area if you smell gas or fumes from other chemicals.
  • Inspect the entire length of chimneys for damage. Unnoticed damage could lead to a fire.
  • Inspect utilities.
    • Check for gas leaks. If you smell gas or hear blowing or hissing noise, open a window and quickly leave the building. Turn off the gas at the outside main valve if you can and call the gas company from a neighbor’s home. If you turn off the gas for any reason, it must be turned back on by a professional.
    • Look for electrical system damage. If you see sparks or broken or frayed wires, or if you smell hot insulation, turn off the electricity at the main fuse box or circuit breaker. If you have to step in water to get to the fuse box or circuit breaker, call an electrician first for advice.
    • Check for sewage and water lines damage. If you suspect sewage lines are damaged, avoid using the toilets and call a plumber. If water pipes are damaged, contact the water company and avoid using water from the tap. You can obtain safe water by melting ice cubes.

Source: FEMA , “After an Earthquake” http://www.ready.gov website. Accessed July 3, 2014. http://www.ready.gov/earthquakes

© Copyright 2014. All rights reserved. This content is strictly for informational purposes and although experts have prepared it, the reader should not substitute this information for professional insurance advice. If you have any questions, please consult your insurance professional before acting on any information presented. Read more.

IN: How To Be Safe Before, During & After An Earthquake

Dear Valued Customer,

In this issue of the “————–” we focus on preparing for an earthquake, and what to do during and after one.

Understand how to increase your preparedness: fasten shelves securely to walls and have disaster supplies on hand. Find out what to do during an earthquake, and, what to do after an earthquake, as aftershocks may typically be less violent than the preceding quake but they can still cause considerable damage.

Last, but not least, please be aware that standard homeowners, renters and business insurance policies do not cover damage from earthquakes. Coverage is available either in the form of an endorsement or as a separate policy. We welcome your call to check out the details.

We appreciate your continued business and look forward to serving you.

Kind regards,