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Earthquake Insurance in Washington State

Posted by Geordie Romer on March 9, 2010

This is a guest post by Eric Kossian of Leavenworth Insurance. Eric sent it to me as an email and I thought it might be important info to share.
With the recent earthquakes in Haiti and Chile, now is a prudent time to review the earthquake coverage you have or don’t have before we have an earthquake.
Photo from Seattle Municipal Archives

Your Earthquake Exposure:
Traditional Earthquake coverage has a very high deductible of at least 10% of your home insurance amount and is designed to provide catastrophic coverage. For example, if your home is insured for $350,000, your out of pocket earthquake deductible would be $52,500 before the 1st dollar of earthquake coverage would be paid out for damage to your home, there would be a separate deductible of $52,500 for damage to contents.
Your homeowner’s or landlord insurance policy does NOT include this earthquake coverage unless it is separately endorsed and extra premium is charged. From my experience, helping settle earthquake claims in the Loma Prieta earthquake in California, which was a 7.5 on the Richter scale, 98% of homes had less than $50,000 in damage. In this case, the above Earthquake coverage would never come into effect. All costs would be out of pocket. Keep in mind though, that especially in Western Washington, we could have a much larger earthquake that might be literally be 100 times as powerful, causing damage in the Seattle area like we see today in Haiti and Chile. This catastrophic damage is designed to be covered by this these high deductible policies.
Our Solutions for Earthquake Insurance in Washington State:
In addition to offering the high deductible earthquake endorsement we also offer a Stand Alone Earthquake policy that is designed to work with your catastrophic earthquake coverage. It will cover up to the 1st $50,000 of damage to your home and/or contents. You can choose the coverage amount and premium amount you want. Because it only has a $1000 deductible, in the event of an earthquake of 5.0 or higher –this policy would very likely be accessible by you for damage to your home or contents. This is an excellent, affordable solution that I highly recommend.
Here the key features of this policy and why I like it so much:
• You choose the coverage amount you want: $10,000, $25,000, or $50,000.
• Low $1,000 deductible for each and every loss.
• It pays for actual cash value (not replacement cost) for damage to your home and/or contents coverage.
• Coverage is for the direct loss caused only by earthquake including, but not limited to, structural damage to the insured’s dwelling, contents of the dwelling, and additional living expenses if the dwelling is uninhabitable.
• Covers damage resulting from earthquakes registering 5.0 + on the Richter Scale at time of initial occurrence for up to100 miles from the epicenter.
• Subsequent aftershocks, occurring more than 72 hours following the initial shock shall be treated as separate occurrences and the same conditions will prevail as were necessary to qualify for coverage of the initial loss
• May be used in addition to another earthquake policy already in force as a means to pay the larger deductible, or as a standalone policy.
You can reach Eric at [email protected] , 509-548-5488 or on the web at



    If you’re planning to buy a home in this area, the best place to start is with the Leavenworth Home Buyer’s Guide.

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