• Earthquake insurance: Here's what you need to know

    By: KIRO 7 News Staff

    Updated:

    A 4.6 magnitude earthquake that hit about a mile northwest of Monroe at 2:51 a.m. was felt across Western Washington and beyond Friday.

    >> WATCH: Videos show moment M4.6 quake hit

    The quake was followed by a series of eight aftershocks, with the strongest a M3.5 that happened 3 minutes after the main quake.

    While damage was limited, the earthquake served as a good-reminder that a homeowner’s policy won’t cover earthquake damage. 

    Here’s a breakdown of how earthquake insurance works from the office of the Insurance Commissioner of Washington:

    Earthquake insurance is usually sold with deductibles  that equal 10 to 25 percent of a structure’s policy limit. 

    >> Seattle earthquakes: Photos from 1949, 1965 & 2001

    People can also purchase a stand-alone policy separate from a homeowner’s policy. 

    Earthquake insurance is usually sold with deductibles  that equal 10 to 25 percent of a structure’s policy limit. 

    The insurance only pays for damages that exceed a deductible. 

    >> New database shows buildings that may crumble in an earthquake

    A separate deductible for contents, structure and unattached structures like garages, sheds, driveways and/or retaining walls might also exist. 

    What doesn’t earthquake insurance cover? 

    The insurance does not cover fire, land, vehicles, pre-existing damage or external water damage. 

    >> Study: Dozens of public school buildings wouldn't be safe after an earthquake

    The insurance also does not cover damage due to landslides, settlements, mudflows, earth rising, sinking and contracting.

    What does earthquake insurance cover? 

    The insurance covers repairs to a person's home, personal property that was damaged, cost to remove debris and extra living expenses people might have while their home is repaired or rebuilt. 

    What might earthquake insurance cover? 

    The insurance might cover increased costs to meet current building codes and/or costs to stabilize land underneath a home. It also might not cover other structures that are not attached to a person's house. 

    >> Earthquake in Southern California raises concerns about ‘The Big One' in Washington

    What should I expect from insurers? 

    Some insurers may require an inspection of a person’s property before they issue a policy.

    They may also have coverage requirements regarding the location of the home and the location and bracing of the home's interior walls, or that the home must be bolted to its foundation and strapping guards must be in place to secure fixtures. 

    Next Up: