Preparing now is critical to surviving future earthquakes
SEATTLE - Earthquakes can strike at any
time and cause massive property damage in a matter of minutes.
In 2001, the 6.8-magnitude Nisqually
Earthquake rocked the Puget Sound region, causing nearly $3 billion
in damage to homes and businesses.
"The Northwest is veined with unstable
seismic fault lines that can spell disaster for homeowners and
business owners," 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."
Many homeowners say they don't have Earthquake
Insurance because they believe it's too expensive compared
to other types of property insurance. Prices climb even higher
if your home is in a high-risk area or is made of brick or concrete.
"Earthquake Insurance may double the
cost to insure a wood-frame home," Newman said. "However, for
most people, your home is your most valuable asset. Even with
Earthquake Insurance, the cost is still lower than most of us
pay to insure two family cars for a year."
Damage to your vehicle as a result of
an earthquake is covered if you have Comprehensive Coverage on
your auto insurance policy.
Another concern for many homeowners is
the high deductibles that come with Earthquake Insurance - often
10 to 15 percent applied separately to your home, contents and
"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
Whether you purchase Earthquake Insurance
or not, it's important that you prepare your family to survive
a natural disaster. The NW Insurance Council offers the following
earthquake and disaster preparedness tips for homeowners and renters:
- Sketch a floor plan of your home and identify safe places
to seek out during an earthquake.
- Know where and how to shut off electricity, gas and water
at main switches and valves. Check with your local utilities
office for instructions.
- Place large and heavy objects on lower shelves. Securely fasten
shelves to walls. Brace or anchor high or top-heavy objects.
- 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.
- Gather and store emergency water, non-perishable food and
first aid supplies.
- Be sure to have a flashlight and a battery-powered radio on
hand in case power is cut off.
- 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
or call (800) 664-4942 for a free Home Inventory Booklet.
NW Insurance Council
is a nonprofit, public-education organization funded by member
insurance companies serving Oregon, Washington and Idaho.