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Columbia County homeowners lack earthquake insurance

OLYMPIA, Washington — According to a report released Wednesday by Washington Insurance Commissioner Mike Kreidler, only 11.3 percent of homeowners in Washington have some type of earthquake coverage. That is a higher rate of residential coverage than in California, the state with the highest risk. Washington ranks second in earthquake risk.

Thurston County in Western Washington has the largest percentage of homeowners with earthquake insurance, and Columbia is the lowest — with Dayton as its largest city.

Insured homeowners in Western Washington have a higher percentage of coverage, 13.8 percent, than those in Eastern Washington, 1.7 percent.

Kreidler’s office surveyed 240 companies that sell residential and commercial earthquake insurance in the state in October 2017, primarily focused on property value.

“While the survey confirms our assumptions about earthquake coverage in Washington, it also shows a need to bolster overall efforts to lower the risk of loss from other disasters, such as floods and wildfires,” Kreidler said. “Earthquake insurance is an important part of reducing risk. But there are other perils to consider. The public and private sectors can work together on this.”

Kreidler is sponsoring legislation to bring together public and private organizations to recommend actions to mitigate risk and losses from all types of natural disasters.

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