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Karl Newman, President
Sandi Henke, Communications Director
NW Insurance Council
Phone: (800) 664-4942
Fax: (206) 624-1975
Follow at Twitter/nwinsuranceinfo


Disaster Preparedness Month: Insurance
and preparation are keys to surviving
the next natural disaster

Disaster Resources

SEATTLE - September is National Preparedness Month and communities across the nation are encouraging residents and businesses to take action to protect their employees and families from disasters. Whether it's an earthquake, wildfire, flood or windstorm, natural disasters can devastate parts of the Pacific Northwest at any time. Northwest residents need to be ready and NW Insurance Council is prepared to help.

"We have wide variety of potential natural disasters in the Northwest," said Karl Newman, NW Insurance Council president. "Fortunately, you can get ready now before it's too late. From insurance to structural evaluations to evacuation plans, disaster kits and home inventories, our disaster preparedness website,, can give you a starting point to get ready."

While natural disasters are hard to predict, developing a disaster preparedness plan that includes insurance can increase your chances of saving your family, property and business from a catastrophic loss. Visiting FEMA's National Preparedness Community and will help you get started. is designed to provide families and businesses with tips on how to prepare for Northwest-specific disasters such as earthquake, flood, wildfire, windstorm, volcanic eruption and severe winter weather.

The site also includes tips on understanding your insurance policies, filing an insurance claim and claims phone numbers for NW Insurance Council member companies. Consumers also can access key disaster resources from state and national emergency-management agencies from within the website.

The NW Insurance Council offers the following tips to help you plan to survive the next disaster:

  • Develop an effective disaster preparedness plan for your family. Visit For businesses, set up an emergency response plan that your employees are trained to carry out. For more information, visit the Washington Military Department's Emergency Management Division's program Safe@Work, the Insurance for Business and Home Safety's disaster planning toolkit Open for Business and
  • Review your insurance policies to be sure you have the right coverage to meet your needs. Find out what your insurance will cover. Most Homeowners and Business Insurance policies do not cover damage caused by flood, earthquake, landslides or tsunamis.
  • Flood Insurance can be purchased through the National Flood Insurance Program. You can purchase earthquake coverage separately through your Homeowners insurance company or through a specialty carrier, such as GeoVera.
  • Develop a home inventory of your personal property. You can access free, downloadable Home Inventory software from the Insurance Information Institute. A complete inventory of your possessions will help you and your adjuster get through the claims process more quickly, including insurance settlements and/or tax deductions for losses. Don't trust your memory. List descriptions, take pictures and include receipts when possible.
  • Store your home inventory and insurance papers in waterproof containers offsite in a safety deposit box or with a friend.
  • Become familiar with your community's disaster preparedness plans by visiting the community's official website or stopping by city hall.
  • Develop an emergency kit that includes at least a three-day supply of drinking water and food you don't have to refrigerate or cook. The kit should also contain first aid supplies, a weather radio, batteries, clothing, blankets, medicine, copies of your insurance policies and some basic tools. More disaster planning resources are available at
  • Refill your vehicle's gas tank whenever it gets down to a half tank. Plan an escape route in the event you have to evacuate your home. Check with city or county officials for low points in the event of a flood or tsunami.
  • Determine the location of the nearest official shelter. The Red Cross can locate shelters near your home and explain what you should take with you.
  • Agree on a meeting place for your family in case local communications networks are offline. Also determine a virtual meeting place such as a voicemail box or online social networking site. Designate out-of-state contacts and provide contact information to each family member in case you can't communicate locally.

For more information visit or contact NW Insurance Council at 800-664-4942 or e-mail at

NW Insurance Council is a nonprofit, public-education organization funded by member insurance companies serving Oregon, Washington and Idaho.