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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


Earthquake: Insurance and disaster preparation
can protect your home or business

SEATTLE - An earthquake can devastate your home, business and finances in just minutes. Geologists say the Northwest is overdue for a giant coastal quake of 8 or 9 magnitude, so now is the time to prepare and consider purchasing Earthquake Insurance.

To help you protect your home, family and business, the NW Insurance Council offers tips on how to prepare for an earthquake and encourages homeowners and business owners to consider both Earthquake and Flood Insurance. Earthquake and tsunami damage are not covered under most standard Homeowners, Renters and Business Owners insurance policies.

"The Washington and Oregon coasts and the Puget Sound region are veined with unstable seismic fault lines that can spell disaster for homeowners and businesses," said Karl Newman, NW Insurance Council president. "If your home or business is at risk, it makes sense to consider Earthquake Insurance."

The Northwest region has the second highest risk of earthquake in the United States. Geologists say a massive 8 or 9 magnitude earthquake could occur in the Pacific Northwest at any time along the Cascadia Subduction Zone that stretches south from Vancouver Island to Northern California.

Earthquake Insurance is available either as a separate policy, as an endorsement to your Homeowners or Renters Insurance policy or through a specialty carrier such as GeoVera.

Check with your agent or insurance company for more details on how you can protect yourself against the devastating effects of an earthquake.

NW Insurance Council offers the following earthquake and disaster preparedness tips:

  • Consider Earthquake Insurance for your home and business. Check with your insurance company, agent or specialty carrier such as GeoVera to make sure you have the coverage you need.
  • Damage to vehicles caused by earthquake or tsunami is covered if owners add optional Comprehensive Coverage to their auto policies.
  • Damage to personal contents inside a vehicle is covered under standard Homeowners or Renters insurance.
  • When an earthquake strikes, remain indoors and use the internationally recognized protocol: "Drop to the ground, Cover by getting under a sturdy desk or table and Hold on until the shaking stops."
  • Disaster experts say do not run to another room to get under a desk or table if one isn't near you. Instead drop to the ground in an inside corner of the building and cover your head and neck with your hands and arms.
  • If you live along the coast, an earthquake in your area is a natural tsunami warning. Do not stay in low-lying coastal areas after a local earthquake. Do not return to such areas until local authorities tell you that the danger of a tsunami has passed.
  • Know where and how to shut off electricity, gas and water at main switches and valves following an earthquake. 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.
  • Create a family evacuation plan and develop a family emergency survival kit that includes 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.
  • Maintain a home inventory of all of your possessions, including descriptions and serial numbers and keep this list (or video) in a safe location away from your home, such as in a safety deposit box. Free, downloadable Home Inventory Software is available from the Insurance Information Institute.

For more information on how to protect yourself and property from an earthquake, tsunami or other disasters, visit, NW Insurance Council or call (800) 664-4942.

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