PEMCO INSURANCE: Protecting your home from earthquake damage

SEATTLE- Last month`s earthquake near Monroe served as a reminder for many that we live in earthquake country.

Even if you have an emergency kit, chances are you still may be missing an important piece of the preparedness puzzle.

We spoke to the experts at PEMCO Insurance about what you can do to keep your home and yourself safe.

According to PEMCO, your home is not covered under a basic insurance policy, in the event of an earthquake.

“Your standard home or condo or renter’s policy just aren’t designed to cover earthquakes, so you either need a special endorsement or you need a specific earthquake policy,” said Underwriting Quality Analyst, Kristine Zewe.

Only about 16% of people in Washington have earthquake insurance. Of that number, 14% of people live west of the Cascades and about 2% live east of the mountains. In earthquake-prone California, only about 15% of people have earthquake insurance.

We asked the experts at PEMCO, why are those numbers so low?

“A lot of people don’t necessarily know if they need it,” Zewe said. “The risk varies widely throughout the state, so some people are going to need it more than others. Also, the last few earthquakes we have had just haven't caused that much damage.”

If you're wondering whether earthquake insurance is for you, here is what it covers:

-Rebuilding your home and outbuildings

-Replacing belongings-temporary housing expenses

-Debris removal

-Stabilizing land

Something important to note, it does not cover flood or tsunami damage, even if it was caused by an earthquake.

Cost of insurance depends on several items, such as the value of your home and your belongings, where your home is located, the slope of land, type of construction, how old your home is, and the policy features as well as deductibles you choose.

Because so many variables go into pricing, it`s harder to shop for earthquake insurance on your own. The experts at PEMCO say start with your insurance agent. You be able to add it on to your ordinary homeowner’s policy, or your agent may refer you to specialty insurance companies who focus specifically on earthquakes.

Earthquake insurance may not be right for everybody, but it`s something that the experts at PEMCO say everyone should at least discuss.