The tragic landslide in Washington State that recently took 14 lives also had an impact on other people in the affected community because of the way in which the disaster hit their area and caused significant damage. As many insurance agents already know, this can be a major problem for those property owners, because in many cases, their home insurance policies do not cover this type of incident.
Despite the fact that many consumers in Washington State actually live on properties that may be more susceptible to landslides than they may think, their home insurance does not cover them for these incidents in the vast majority of cases, according to a report from the Seattle public radio station KPLU. In fact, the “earth movement” coverage under which such disasters would fall – and would also include protection against floods and earthquakes – would cost the average consumer in the state an additional $1,000 per year, on top of the roughly $600 many already pay for even the most basic coverage. Rough estimates show that as few as 15 percent of Washington residents have such coverage, and that may put them at significant risk.
“It could be that it’s available and very expensive,” Kara Klotz, a spokeswoman for Washington’s Office of the Insurance Commissioner, told the news station. “It could be that it’s easier to find in eastern Washington where the risk is low, than it would be in western Washington where it’s very wet here and the risk is higher.”
Another potential issue
However, Northwest Insurance Council president Karl Newman further warned that while consumers may believe they’re fully covered if they decide to take on that extra $1,000 cost per year, they might not be as secure as they think, the report said. Often, that would instead cover any damage to the things within the home, rather than the home itself, and therefore might have to buy more coverage even beyond that additional protection.
Insurance agents may therefore find it’s in the best interest of both them and their clients to make sure people who are buying new home policies know exactly what is and isn’t covered by these plans. If agents think consumers are going to need more coverage based on where they live and what risk factors they face, it’s better to let them know ahead of time so that they can weigh all the options available to them and not face an unfortunate surprise later on.