If you own a home in Washington state, you want the right insurance for everything from accidental kitchen fires to floods to earthquakes. Here’s how to find the right Washington home insurance.
What does home insurance cover?
A standard home insurance policy, called an HO-3, will cover your house for everything except what’s specifically excluded. That means it covers fire, explosions, wind, lightning, the weight of snow and more.
What about floods?
Washington state sees its share of flooding. That’s why it’s important to know that home insurance generally doesn’t cover flooding. You’ll need to buy flood insurance if you want financial protection from flood damage, which includes floods from heavy rain and snow melt.
What about earthquakes in Washington?
Washington state has the second highest risk in the U.S. of large and damaging earthquakes, according to Washington Geological Survey. That’s because of its proximity to the Cascadia Subduction Zone, a significant seismic area along the western part of the state. Potential damage includes landslides and tsunamis that are sparked by earthquakes.
But home insurance typically excludes earthquake damage. So if your home is cracked by a quake, or shifts off its foundation, don’t depend on home insurance. If you want coverage, consider earthquake insurance.
What does Washington homeowners insurance cover?
A typical Washington homeowners insurance policy provides six coverage types:
- Dwelling coverage for your house structure.
- Personal property coverage for items such as furniture, clothes, toys, rugs and kitchen items.
- Other structures coverage for things not attached to the house, such as a garage or fence.
- Loss of use coverage for extra expenses when you can’t live at home due to damage that’s covered under the policy. These can include hotel and restaurant bills.
- Personal liability coverage for injuries you accidentally cause to others, including medical bills and lost wages. Liability coverage also covers property damage that you and members of your household accidentally cause to others. And it pays court costs if you’re sued.
- Medical payments coverage in case people are hurt on your property.
How much is home insurance in Washington state?
The average annual premium for a common homeowners policy, called an HO-3, in Washington is $822, according to the National Association of Insurance Commissioners. That’s less than the countrywide average of $1,192 a year.
20 largest home insurance companies in Washington
|Rank in Washington state||Company||Market share % in the state|
|6||PEMCO Mutual Insurance Co.||6.12|
|7||American Family Insurance||5.27|
|8||Mutual of Enumclaw||2.98|
|15||Grange Insurance Assn.||1.27|
|Source: S&P Global Market Intelligence, based on homeowners multiple peril insurance market share in 2018.|
What if I can’t find home insurance?
If you’ve been turned down for home insurance you may be able to buy coverage through the Washington Fair Plan. It offers coverage for homes (and commercial buildings) anywhere in the state if you’ve been turned down by private insurers.