Should I buy earthquake insurance?

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Q: I read your column on earthquake preparedness. And although I don't think our 11-year-old house needs structural changes, I was wondering if you have any advice on whether to buy earthquake insurance. We are new to the area, so we have no experience or feel for it. A: Your question is a little far afield for our do-it-yourself column. But it's a subject we've had to consider over the years, and, as you mention, we have addressed earthquake preparedness from a structural perspective. We're both 40-plus-year residents of the San Francisco Bay Area -- earthquake country -- and have lived through our share of shakers. We've seen pictures rattle and chandeliers swing. We've owned homes and income property and have had to grapple with the same question: to insure or not to insure against the Big One. Here's our take today. We've always opted not to purchase earthquake coverage. For us, it boiled down to a purely business decision. The cost of coverage was so high, the deductib...