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Washington receives first quake insurance report

Do you have earthquake insurance? If you don't, you have plenty of company.

California has had an ongoing assessment of its insurance market for years. Now Washington, as the second most earthquake-vulnerable state in the union, becomes the second state in the nation to know where it stands on its insurance market.

There is good news and bad news. First, in more earthquake-prone western Washington, 13.8% of homeowners have quake insurance. It’s 1.7% in eastern Washington.

For Washington State Insurance Commissioner Mike Kreidler, that was a surprise. California is at about 10 percent.

Also, the report, based on a survey of scores of insurance companies, concludes there is an active insurance market and plenty of offerings in the state, although much of that insurance may be only available under a separate policy, such as one offered by California earthquake insurer GeoVera. GeoVera has just over 18% of residential policies in Washington. The top earthquake insurer is State Farm. Together, the two companies have over half the residential policies.

The bad news: That leaves 86% of western Washington homeowners without earthquake insurance, which can be expensive, along with deductibles ranging between 10% and 15%.

News for business is a bit better, with 49.5% of all businesses on the west side of the state having quake insurance. Kreidler thinks that’s because lenders are often requiring business owners to have it. Still, he says those policies typically only cover about $3 million worth of buildings and assets, which in many cases may not be enough.

See the full report below (if viewing in the app, click here)