Believe it or not, every state in the U.S. has some degree of risk from earthquakes, including Washington. If you live in an area susceptible to earthquakes, make sure you speak with us in order to determine whether you are covered, or if you should purchase separate earthquake coverage.
Know If You Have Earthquake Coverage
We'll talk you through your options and discuss home improvements that can make your eligible for an earthquake endorsement or policy. Note that those who are California, Oregon or Washington residents must purchase a separate earthquake insurance policy.
We'll Help You Know What Your Insurance Covers and How Much You Need
- Deductibles and the amount of coverage for earthquake damage vary by state.
- Your policy may not cover the entire cost of rebuilding.
- Exterior buildings, decks and landscaping are generally not covered.
Take Action to Reduce Damage
To reduce damage inside, think “heads up.” Look at your ceiling and walls to see what might fall.
- Anchor bookcases and filing cabinets to walls.
- Secure ceiling lights, suspended ceilings and other hanging items to the building structure.
- Anchor water heaters and large appliances to walls using safety cables or straps, and lock the rollers of all appliances and furniture.
- Fit all gas appliances with flexible connections and breakaway gas shut-off devices or install a main gas shut-off device.
- Consider working with a registered design professional or licensed building contractor to reduce potential damage to the structure of your home or business.
- Add anchor bolts or steel plates between your home’s structure and foundation.
- Brace the inside of your home’s cripple wall with sheathing.
- Brace unreinforced chimneys, masonry, concrete walls and foundations.
Protect Yourself If the Ground Starts to Shake in Washington
If you're inside
- If you’re indoors, stay there.
- Move away from windows, skylights, doors and things that could fall.
- Duck, cover and hold until the shaking stops.
If you're outside:
- Move quickly into the open, away from electrical lines, trees and buildings.
- Drop to the ground and wait for the shaking to stop.
If you're driving:
- Slowly bring your vehicle to a stop at the side of the road.
- Don’t stop on or under bridges, under power lines or near roadway signs.
- After the shaking has stopped, continue driving, but watch out for damage to the road.
Home Inventory: Part of your home’s value is inside.
- Your furniture and appliances, clothing, sports or hobby equipment, and electronic goods are all regarded as personal property.
- Compare the value of your belongings to the “contents” limit listed in your home insurance policy. This helps you make sure you have enough insurance in order to replace your items if they are lost, stolen or destroyed as a result of a covered loss.
- An inventory also makes filing a claim easier.
What’s the best way to create my inventory?
- The easiest way to take an inventory is to use a video camera. Record and describe items as you walk through your house.
- You can also use a regular camera and a home inventory worksheet.
Tips for completing and storing your inventory:
- Add brand names and descriptions that are visible, especially on large-ticket items.
- Keep any receipts you have with the list to make the claims process easier.
- Store your video or photo inventory offsite so you won’t lose it if your house is damaged.
- Update your personal property records when you purchase new furnishings and valuables.
How much Washington insurance do I need?
- We can assist you in analyzing your home insurance needs and help you decide how to effectively protect your personal property.
- Discuss full value coverage with us, this will pay for the replacement value of your personal belongings.
- A standard policy typically covers personal property only up to its actual cash value, determined by taking the replacement cost and deducting depreciation, which can be substantial.
- Remember your home insurance policy covers valuable items such as jewelry, furs, art and antiques, only up to set dollar amounts.
- If the cost of replacing the items exceeds these limits, you may want to purchase scheduled personal property coverage.
How do I make a claim?
You can contact your insurance company directly, or call our office for assistance. Remember that you can always find the claim department contact information for your insurance company on our website at www.filerinsurance.com/service-center/claims.