1406 N Pines Rd
Spokane Valley WA 99206
*Century Insurance Agency Copyright © 2014 All Rights Reserved.
By Peggy Lloyd - agent
Worldwide, this old earth sustains an average of 50 earthquakes per day. During the last two years Washington has experienced 31 quakes measuring between 2.7 and 4.9 on the Richter scale. It’s no wonder that homeowners as well as insurance companies are asking questions about earthquake coverage.
In the past a limited amount of coverage for earthquake damage was included in most homeowner’s policies, but the increase in seismic activity created a need for better coverage and now the standard homeowner’s policy does not cover loss caused by earthquakes. Instead, coverage for earthquake damage must be purchased either as a rider, or as a separate policy. If you want to check into earthquake coverage, the time to do it is before an earthquake occurs. Earthquake coverage cannot be purchased during an earthquake or up to 72 hours after an earthquake.
What is earthquake insurance?
Earthquake coverage is catastrophe insurance and is intended to cover major losses. It is written for a specific amount on the dwelling, with a deductible of usually 15 to 25% of the coverage amount. This means that on a $100,000 home, your deductible would be $15,000 to $25,000. Masonry chimneys are excluded, and there is no coverage for structures other than the house itself. Personal property coverage is limited to $10,000 or $25,000 and does not cover swimming pools, hot tubs, china or glassware. The premium for earthquake coverage may be as low as $100 per year or as high as $700 depending on the amount of coverage required.
Can I get earthquake insurance?
Not all homes qualify for earthquake coverage. To qualify, the foundation must be bolted to the wall sill plate and the water heater must be strapped to the studs. Cripple wall construction must be properly braced. Photo verification is required along with pictures showing the slope of the land. Homes built on a significant slope (25 degrees or greater) are not eligible, nor are homes with foundations of concrete block, stone or post and pier. You may want to contact a contractor for help in determining if your home is eligible, or in making it eligible if it is not.
How can I reduce damage from an earthquake?
If you want to know how to reduce damage inside, look up. Look at your ceiling and walls to see what might fall. Anchor bookcases and filing cabinets to the walls. Secure ceiling lights and suspended items to the building structure. Water heaters and large appliances can be strapped to the walls with safety cables and gas appliances can be fitted with flexible connections and breakaway gas shut-off devices.
If you’d like to learn more about earthquakes, the internet is full of information, or you can contact the Federal Emergency Management Agency at Federal Regional Center Region 10, 130 228th St SW, Bothell WA 98021