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You Never Know When the Earth Will Shake

You Never Know When the Earth Will Shake

Listen to this 'Talk of the Nation' topic

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After I saw the news coverage of the recent tornadoes in Virginia, the state where I live, I wanted to make sure my home owners insurance was up-to-date. During the Q&A process with the insurance rep, she asked me if I wanted earthquake insurance.

Earthquake insurance? In Virginia?

She reminded me about the recent earthquake in Illinois and Ohio that was supposedly felt as far away as Iowa. "Never can be sure," she said.

Then I remembered my own earthquake experience. It was in Montreal a few years ago. My family and I were staying at a hotel in the downtown area. Suddenly the building shook for a few seconds and there was a loud noise. I thought it was just a truck or some other large vehicle rumbling by. But my wife immediately said, "That was an earthquake." And sure enough, she was right according to that night's news.

Pretty mild, eh? But my friend and fellow journalist George DeLama of the Chicago Tribune was in the Los Angeles area during the 1994 Northridge, California quake. It destroyed his house. He told me later than if he could help it, he would never again live in any place that was earthquake friendly.

In the end, I turned down the earthquake insurance. I really don't think I need it. My fingers are crossed of course.

We want to hear from our listeners in Reno, where small earthquakes have become commonplace. What are they like? How bad are they?