Most Northwesterners avoiding quake insurance

Insurance experts acknowledge that quake insurance can seem pricey. But they say that's mostly because we compare it to the cost of standard homeowners insurance.

Say the cost to rebuild your home today would be $300,000. And it's a wood frame home on a level lot, and bolted to the foundation. Your standard homeowners insurance runs between $700 and $750 a year, with a deductible anywhere from $250 to $1,000, depending on your choice.

Quake coverage adds another $500 to $700 a year to your insurance bill. And the deductible on earthquake insurance ranges from 10 to 25 percent of the replacement cost for the house. The same deductible applies separately to replacement of your contents.

With the potential of catastrophic quake damage more a factor of when and not if, insurance and disaster recovery experts say the annual "Great Shakeout Disaster Drill" is a good time to evaluate just how well your property is protected, and make sure you're prepared.

In deciding on earthquake insurance, you must weigh the money you save by not buying extra coverage against the potential cost of repairing extensive quake damage without insurance benefits.

If your insurance provider doesn't offer earthquake coverage there are other carriers who specialize in earthquake policies, including Geo Vera, ACE European Group Limited, and Lloyds of London. Just remember, insurance companies are always flooded with calls right after a quake hits. but by then, companies put a moratorium on issuing new earthquake policies for up to 30 days.

More information is available here.