Anyone who lived through the 1994 Northridge earthquake will tell you it was no picnic. Walls were shaking, dishes were flying – and before it was over 57 people died and more than 8,700 were injured.

Many homes suffered damage, ranging from relatively minor cracks to serious, full-blown damage. Homeowners without earthquake insurance were pretty much out of luck. No one can predict when the next big shaker will hit, but one thing is certain: If you don’t have earthquake insurance you could be hurting.

Earthquake insurance must be purchased separately from your homeowners insurance, and many homeowners haven’t opted to get it because they think rates are higher than they really are. So you might want to check it out.

You should also check out the  Earthquake Brace + Bolt program (EBB). Funded primarily by the California Earthquake Authority, it just closed its latest registration with more than 7,500 California homeowners applying for 2,000 retrofit grants.

The program helps lessen the potential for earthquake damage to qualifying older homes by granting up to $3,000 toward a seismic retrofit. It targets homes that were built before 1979, with an emphasis on pre-1940 homes. A record number of Californians signed up for EBB this year, according to Glenn Pomeroy, the agency’s CEO.

The CEA also offers further financial incentives, including a 20 percent discount on CEA earthquake insurance premiums for homes that have been properly retrofitted.

Qualifying homeowners are being selected early this month through a random drawing to either participate in the EBB program or be placed on the waiting list. Wait-listed homeowners may be accepted into the program throughout the year. So there’s still time to jump in.

If you have questions about earthquake insurance or homeowners coverage, call Carol Smith at 661-803-0803 or visit