preparation key to reducing earthquake damage
SEATTLE - The 7.7 magnitude earthquake
that caused a massive tsunami, Oct. 26, off the coast of Sumatra
left a deadly path of destruction and a grim reminder of how natural
disasters can strike anywhere with little or no warning.
NW Insurance Council reminds homeowners
and business owners to consider Earthquake Insurance. Standard
Homeowners, Renters and Business owners insurance policies do
not cover earthquake damage.
Because an earthquake can strike anywhere
at any time, Earthquake Insurance can be the peace-of-mind you
need to protect your home and business.
"The Puget Sound region is veined with
unstable seismic fault lines that can spell disaster for homeowners
and businesses," said Karl Newman, NW Insurance Council president.
"In spite of this reality, only an estimated 12 to 15 percent
of homeowners are choosing to purchase earthquake insurance."
Following Washington's 6.8 Nisqually
Earthquake of 2001, more than 9,500 insurance claims were filed
and insurance companies paid more than $315 million to business
owners and consumers to help them repair the damage.
Yet, many homeowners say they don't have
earthquake insurance because they believe it's too expensive and
the deductibles are too high. Prices climb even higher if your
home is in a high-risk area or is made of brick or concrete.
"Earthquake Insurance is there for very
serious damage or total destruction of your home," Newman said.
"The high deductibles keep premiums lower and help make the coverage
Homeowners and business owners can obtain
Earthquake Insurance by purchasing a separate insurance policy
or an endorsement to an existing insurance policy. Some companies
that don't specifically offer Earthquake Insurance do allow their
agents to find coverage for their customers through surplus lines
carriers such as Geo Vera, ACE European Group Limited and Lloyds
Whether you purchase Earthquake Insurance
or not, it's critical that you prepare your family to survive
a natural disaster.
NW Insurance Council offers the following
disaster preparedness tips:
- Gather and store emergency water, non-perishable food and
first aid supplies.
- Know where and how to shut off electricity, gas and water
at main switches and valves. Check with your local utilities
office for instructions.
- Be sure to have a flashlight and a battery-powered radio
on hand in case power is cut off.
- Place large and heavy objects on lower shelves. Securely
fasten shelves to walls. Brace or anchor high or top-heavy
- Deep plaster cracks in walls should be investigated. Such
cracks, especially on ceilings, could result in large pieces
of heavy plaster falling and causing injury.
- Sketch a floor plan of your home and identify safe places
to seek out during an earthquake.
- Maintain a home inventory of all of your possessions, including
descriptions and serial numbers, if any, and keep this list
(or video) in a safe location away from your home, such as
in a safety deposit box. For free downloadable Home Inventory
software, visit www.nwinsurance.org.
- Damage to your vehicle as a result of an earthquake is covered
if you have Comprehensive Coverage on your policy.
For more information on how to protect
yourself and property from an earthquake or other disasters, visit
GetReadyNW.org or call
NW Insurance Council is a nonprofit,
public-education organization funded by member insurance companies
serving Washington, Oregon and Idaho.