The number of Californians with earthquake insurance is on the rise, but still only 1 in 10 residents is covered, according to insurance officials.
Now an expert panel is trying to change people's perception of what it considers a crucial piece of protection for the inevitable "big one."
The panel met Thursday in San Francisco to discuss the insurance issue, as well as the latest earthquake research. The experts are with the California Earthquake Authority, established in 1994 after the magnitude-6.7 Northridge quake in Southern California that killed dozens of people and caused billions of dollars in damage.
The panel's seismic research helps show where insurance is most needed. And recently, it says, the cost of earthquake insurance has dropped.
Only about 10 percent of property owners in the state currently are covered, and the percentages are lower in San Francisco and Los Angeles, the experts said.
"In our experience, what we’ve heard from people is they think it won't happen to them," Christopher Nance, of the California Earthquake Authority, said. "They think because their house survived recent earthquakes that it will survive the next one. They have a perception that earthquake insurance is expensive."
State insurance officials point out that homeowners are not the only ones who qualify for earthquake insurance. Renters can buy it too.