Washington Earthquake Insurance FAQs

Thank you for visiting QuakeQuotes, Washington State’s earthquake insurance specialists since 1977. Our team is comprised of professional insurance advisors licensed to write earthquake insurance in Washington and Oregon. If you don’t see your questions answered below, please contact us. We are here to help and look forward to assisting you with your earthquake insurance needs!

What is an earthquake?

According to FEMA, an earthquake is the sudden, rapid shaking of the earth caused by the breaking and shifting of underground rock. Earthquakes can:

  • Collapse buildings
  • Cause heavy items to fall
  • Cause fires and damage to roads
  • Cause ground failure, including landslides and liquefaction
  • Cause tsunamis

resulting in injuries, death, and property damage.

What happens during an earthquake?

If you’re new to the Pacific Northwest, you may not have experienced an earthquake before. In 2016, Seattle’s Office of Emergency Management hosted a “Big Shaker” earthquake event so people could experience what an 8.0-magnitude earthquake feels like. You can watch a video of the simulation below: 

What would happen if an earthquake hit Seattle?

This simulation from the Washington State Department of Transportation demonstrates how disastrous a strong earthquake could be. Although the Alaskan Way Viaduct has been torn down, this still serves as a powerful reminder about the possible effects of an earthquake: 

Does my home insurance policy cover earthquake insurance?

No, most Washington and Oregon homeowners and condo insurance policies specifically exclude coverage for earthquake damage. King 5 News explains: 

On the rare occasion your homeowners insurance policy does cover earthquake damage, it’s still worth considering a separate earthquake insurance policy. Standalone earthquake insurance policies in Washington and Oregon are usually more cost-effective and provide better protection than coverage that is endorsed, or added on, to a home insurance policy. 

How much does earthquake insurance cost in Seattle? 

Although The Seattle Times reported earthquake insurance prices in Washington have soared in recent years, there are affordable earthquake insurance options available for most Seattle residents. The exact cost of earthquake insurance in Seattle varies based on a number of factors, including the following:

  • Location of your home, including proximity to a fault line
  • Construction characteristics of your home. This includes the material your home is built out of (such as wood or brick), foundation type, and age of your home
  • The replacement cost of your home. The more expensive your home costs to rebuild, the more expensive it will be to insure
  • The deductible you choose. Our companies offer deductibles ranging from 2.5% to 25%. The higher the deductible, the lower the premium

Although our earthquake insurance companies do not require homes in Washington be retrofitted, some retrofitted homes may qualify for a premium discount.

Want to know how much your Seattle earthquake insurance costs? Fill out our online quote form or call us at (425) 379-9200, and a licensed QuakeQuotes insurance agent will be in touch with you within two business hours. Premiums start at under $10/month!

Do I need earthquake insurance?

Yes! Washington has the second-highest seismic risk of any state in the country, after California. We recommend earthquake insurance to all Pacific Northwest residents. Our team has seen firsthand the emotional and financial losses earthquakes cause. 

After the “big one” hits, reimbursement from an earthquake insurance policy can mean the difference between despair and hope for many families. For many of us, our homes are our largest financial asset. This is why purchasing earthquake insurance is so critical.

If you are not insured against earthquakes and your home suffers earthquake damage,  You could be in serious financial trouble because there is no coverage to repair or replace your home and you have to continue making your mortgage payment.

What does an earthquake policy cover?

Our Pacific Northwest earthquake insurance policies are customizable to your needs. Unless waived, they automatically include coverage for:

  • the structure of your home
  • it’s contents
  • any detached structures on your property, such as a detached garage 
  • additional living expenses if your home is not habitable due to earthquake damage

If you live in a condo, your earthquake insurance policy can also provide coverage for loss assessment.

Is earthquake insurance expensive?

In many areas of Washington and Oregon, earthquake insurance is not expensive. Earthquake insurance can be more expensive in Seattle, where homes are older and in close proximity to fault lines. 

What happens if I don’t buy earthquake insurance?

Thanks to Seattle’s booming real estate market, your home may be your largest asset. Can you afford to rely on FEMA to bail you out if a large earthquake hits our region?  

If you are not insured against earthquakes and your home suffers earthquake damage, you could be in serious financial trouble. Because you would have no coverage to repair or replace your home and you have to continue making your mortgage payment.

Affected homeowners may qualify for a loan through the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). However, after watching news reports on Hurricane Katrina and other natural disasters, we cannot recommend clients rely on FEMA to help rebuild their homes and their lives.

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