Though infrequent, earthquakes can cause broad, devastating damage

Oregon’s diverse landscape includes a Pacific coastline, volcanoes in the Cascade Mountain range, several forests, and high desert in the eastern portion of the state. Oregon homeowners should consider taking advantage of the relatively low cost of home insurance in the state for protection against weather, earthquakes, and other unforeseen events.

How Much Does Oregon Home Insurance Cost?

According to the Insurance Information Institute, in 2010, the average annual premium for homeowners insurance in Oregon was $535. Insurance companies consider several factors when determining the cost of a homeowner’s insurance.

An insurance company will factor in the type of construction, age of the house, its location and distance from fire protection, the deductibles and discounts on the homeowner’s policy, the policy holder’s claims history, and the policy holder’s credit rating when determining the insurance premium. A poor credit rating and/or a history of prior claims may raise the cost of the premium. Discounts on a premium may be awarded if you have multiple policies from the same company (e.g., automobile and homeowner’s insurance); by installing safety products such as smoke alarms, sprinkler systems, deadbolt locks, impact-resistant roofing, and approved electronic burglar alarms; and for a claims-free history.

What Does It Cover?

Home insurance pays for damage to your home, its contents, and other structures. Home insurance policies usually cover loss from fire and smoke, windstorm, hail, an explosion, riot or civil commotion, aircraft, vehicles, vandalism and malicious mischief, and theft, and will usually exclude coverage of damage from earthquake, flood, war, and/or nuclear hazard. Home insurance usually provides liability protection in case you are found at fault for injuring someone or damaging their property.

Do I Have to Get Home Insurance in Oregon?

Home insurance is not required by law in Oregon. However, buying insurance can help protect your house and property against damage from unforeseen circumstances, and liability for accidents that injure other people or damage their property. The Oregon State Insurance Division has more information for consumers about home insurance.

Optional Coverage to Consider

  • Flood. Flooding is not covered in standard homeowner’s insurance. Communities that have joined the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) are eligible for flood insurance provided by the program in collaboration with private insurance companies. Flooding insurance premium rates are determined by factors including the date of housing construction, the type of housing construction, and the risk of flooding in the house’s area. Oregon is prone to flooding, so be sure to check the risk of flooding in your area, and be aware that the NFIP reports that 20% to 25% of flooding claims come from low-risk areas.
  • Fire and Lightning. Most standard homeowner’s insurance policies cover fire and lightning damages. Discounts to the homeowner’s insurance premium may be obtained by installing fire prevention equipment, such as smoke alarms, or may be reduced due to the distance of your home from a fire department or a fire hydrant. Be sure to make an inventory of your belongings, and, in the event of a fire, don’t throw away anything damaged in the fire until the damage is documented for use in developing an insurance claim.
  • Windstorm. Windstorm and hail damage is covered by most standard homeowner’s insurance policies, including any damage sustained from falling objects. Be sure to thoroughly review your policy with an agent to sure you are fully covered for any damages resulting from wind or tornadoes. Discounts to homeowner’s insurance premiums may be provided if the homeowner installs storm shutters and wind-resistant glass.
  • Earthquake. Earthquake insurance is not standard in a homeowner’s policy. Earthquake insurance covers damages to the property and its structures due to an earthquake, debris removal, and loss of use expenses. Earthquake insurance does not cover loss due to landslides, erosion, tsunami, or volcanic eruption. Since 1841, there have been more than 6,000 recorded earthquakes in the state of Oregon, but only 20% of Oregon residents have earthquake coverage.

Mobile Home Insurance in Oregon

Just like in a homeowner’s policy, a mobile home insurance policy will include considerations for liability, property, and casualty, but may not be as standardized as a homeowner’s insurance policy in terms of what perils they include and exclude. Mobile home insurance, also known as manufactured home insurance, covers loss of use, and will temporarily pay for housing, meals, and storage in the event that covered damages leave the mobile home uninhabitable.

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