Q: What is the Washington Fair Plan?
A: The Washington Fair Plan (Fair Plan) is a “property insurance pool” that was established by the Washington State Department of Insurance in 1968.The Fair Plan is supported by all insurance companies that are licensed to provide property insurance coverage in Washington. Insurance coverage is available to eligible property under basic coverage forms when coverage is unavailable in the voluntary insurance market.
Q: Why was there a reference to the Fair Plan in the cancellation/non-renewal notice I recently received?
A: Insurance companies providing property insurance in Washington are required to include the name and telephone number of the Fair Plan in all property cancellation and non-renewal notices. The notice normally indicates that you may be eligible for property insurance coverage and should contact the Fair Plan if you are unable to secure coverage in the voluntary insurance market.
Q: Does the Fair Plan provide insurance coverage on vacant buildings?
A: Provisions of the Washington Administrative Code do not provide for the placement of insurance coverage on vacant structures.
Q: Does the Fair Plan provide the same type of coverage options as companies in the voluntary insurance market?
A: The Fair Plan provides basic fire insurance coverage for owner and tenant occupied dwellings, apartment buildings and commercial structures. Coverage may also be obtained for personal property and the contents of those structures. Extended Coverage and Vandalism are available. Liability, theft, and personal floater coverages (jewelry, coins, antiques) are not available through the Plan.
Q: Can I choose coverage through the Fair Plan instead of a voluntary insurance company?
A: Yes. But more comprehensive coverage options at reduced premium costs may be available in the voluntary insurance market.
Q: Is the cost for insurance coverage more expensive under the Fair Plan?
A: In most situations, insurance coverage with the Fair Plan is more expensive. The premium levels utilized by the Fair Plan are established by the Washington Surveying and Rating Bureau. The condition of individual property and the information provided on the insurance application establish the premium level for coverage.
Q: Are there limits on the amount of coverage available?
A: Yes. Maximum coverage amounts are the actual cash value (current replacement cost of the property minus an allowance for depreciation) of the property to be covered. The maximum coverage available under a dwelling or commercial policy is $1,500,000.
Q: How do I know if Fair Plan coverage is best for me, and how do I apply for coverage?
A: Contact several insurance companies (or their insurance agents) regarding your particular situation and potential placement in the voluntary market. These insurance professionals should be able to respond to specific questions regarding your situation. If you can’t obtain coverage in the voluntary market, any licensed property insurance agent can assist you in applying for coverage through the Fair Plan.
Q: Will I be assigned an insurance agent to contact with questions about my insurance policy?
A: The Fair Plan has no appointed agents. You may choose any licensed property insurance agent in Washington to submit an application on your behalf to the Fair Plan. The agent you select becomes your agent. As your advisor, your agent is your primary contact to answer questions and address your concerns. Your agent acts as your representative when corresponding with the Fair Plan. If you are unable to contact your agent you may communicate directly with the Fair Plan.
Q: Do Fair Plan policies have deductibles?
A: Yes. Just like insurance coverage in the voluntary market, minimum deductibles based on the values to be insured apply. Higher deductibles are available and may reduce your premiums.
Q: What kind of payment plan does the Fair Plan have?
A: At this time, the Fair Plan does not have any payment plans available. The full annual premium must be paid once the Fair Plan has provided your agent a premium quote. Coverage is not effective until full payment is received by the Fair Plan. Premium may be paid with an agent’s check, a cashier check or a money order.
Q: Do Fair Plan policies contain exclusions?
A: An insurance policy is a contract. You should thoroughly review your policy and discuss any questions relative to policy exclusions and limitations with your agent.
Q: If I am renting property, can I obtain insurance coverage for my personal belongings? Is liability coverage available?
A: Basic insurance coverage is available for personal belongings and the contents of dwellings and structures. Theft and liability coverages are not available.
Q: How do I file a claim with the Fair Plan?
A: You should immediately notify your agent and provide specific information regarding your claim. Your agent will contact the Fair Plan for you. In the event you are unable to reach your agent, you may also contact the Fair Plan.
Q: Once I secure coverage through the Fair Plan, how will I know when I am again eligible for coverage in the voluntary market?
A: It is recommended that you continually evaluate your insurance options while you are covered by the Fair Plan. Your agent, as your advisor, is an excellent resource to assist you. Broader coverage at more competitive prices is normally available in the voluntary market.
Q: If I obtain a policy in the voluntary market, can I cancel my Fair Plan policy? How much premium will be returned to me?
A: Yes, you can cancel your policy for any reason at any time with proper notice to the Fair Plan. The return premium will be calculated on a prorated basis for the time the policy was in effect.
Q: Where can I obtain further information about the Fair Plan?
A: This website provides a general overview of the Washington Fair Plan. For specifics regarding availability, cost and coverage, contact your insurance agent, or you may contact the Washington Fair Plan directly at:
2122 164th Street S.W., Suite 202
Lynnwood, WA 98087