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To insure or not to insure? 

by Dan Richardson


Earthquake insurance for homeowners is cheap, unless an earthquake strikes. That's because the premiums are about $10 to $15 a month for a frame-built house, but the deductibles on a quake-damaged house start in the thousands, insurers say.


For a Spokane frame-built house built in the 1970s and valued at $150,000, one company offers earthquake insurance for $169.50 a year, says Beth Kummer at Buck & amp; Affiliates insurance agency. For that same residence built of bricks, the pricetag jumps to $498 -- and many other companies don't insure brick homes at all.


Spokane insurers report receiving only a couple of call apiece for earthquake insurance since the recent tremors. Many homeowners are put off by the high deductibles; they usually start at about 10 percent of the home value.


"Earthquake policies are really only for major events," says Kummer.


Some Washington seismologists have purchased earthquake insurance. Others, like USGS geologist Tom Frost in Spokane, do not. But Frost has made emergency home preparations, and has advised friends in Seattle to purchase the insurance.


A little preparedness, says Frost, "goes a long way." --
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