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March 02, 2001|LIZ PULLIAM WESTON

Checklist: Earthquake Preparedness

Things to do this weekend with your money

Seattle's shaker should remind homeowners and renters to consider how much they could lose in an earthquake.

* Earthquake insurance: Regular homeowners' and renters' policies don't cover damage from earthquakes. Earthquake policies, meanwhile, have changed quite a bit in recent years. The California Earthquake Authority, which writes two-thirds of the state's policies, now offers lower deductibles and expanded coverage. Private companies such as GeoVera, Chubb Group and ITT Hartford also sell earthquake policies. For more information, visit www.insurance.ca.gov.

* Earthquake preparedness: Regardless of whether you have insurance, you can take steps to reduce your losses. If you're a homeowner, bolting your home to its foundation, reinforcing basement cripple walls and bracing your chimney can help reduce earthquake damage. Inside your home, look for and remove hazards. Don't hang pictures or other heavy objects over a bed; strap televisions and computers to tables and water heaters to the wall (specially made straps are available in hardware stores); place heavy and breakable items on low shelves rather than higher ones.

* Emergency supplies: Keeping certain supplies on hand in case of a quake also can help prevent damage and loss of life. The basics: heavy gloves and a crowbar to remove debris; fire extinguishers to douse blazes; a wrench to shut off gas and water if lines break; flashlights and batteries for when the power goes out; a battery-powered radio to keep abreast of news and safety information.

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