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Even in quake-prone California, only about 10 percent of homeowners have an insurance policy that covers such damages, according to Glenn Pomeroy, CEO of the California Earthquake Authority. The lack of insurance there is usually attributed to its high cost.

“Yesterday was a wake up call for people in the Northeast that earthquakes can happen anywhere, not just in California,” he said. “Most people don’t think about it. It takes a major event to get people to realize, ‘Oh yeah, I guess they do happen. I better think about it.’ “