The Washington FAIR (“Fair Access to Insurance Requirements”) Plan was established in 1968 to provide basic property insurance to applicants who cannot obtain property insurance in the standard insurance market. Basic fire insurance coverage is available for both dwellings and commercial buildings. The FAIR Plan functions under the rules and regulations of Chapter 284-19 of the Washington Administrative Code. As such, the FAIR Plan is under the supervision of the Office of the Insurance Commissioner of the State of Washington, although it is not a state agency. The FAIR Plan does not receive any funding from taxpayers or the State of Washington.
All companies licensed to write property insurance in Washington are required to be members of the FAIR Plan Association. The FAIR Plan operates as a joint reinsurance association of its member companies. Every insurance producer licensed to write property insurance in Washington must assist consumers to apply to the FAIR Plan, if requested to do so. The FAIR Plan application must be signed by both the agent and the applicant.
Why was there a reference to the FAIR Plan in the cancellation/non-renewal notice I recently received?
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 standard insurance market.
Does the FAIR Plan provide insurance coverage on vacant buildings?
Provisions of the Washington Administrative Code do not provide for the placement of insurance coverage on vacant structures. There are some exceptions if a residence is under a construction contract for repair or rehabilitation to make it livable. A decision on granting an exception will only be made after completion and underwriting review of the required application and inspection of the property.
Does the FAIR Plan provide the same type of coverage options as companies in the standard insurance market?
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. Coverage for liability, theft, and most types of water-related losses are not available through the Plan. In most cases, fewer coverage options are available from the FAIR Plan than from companies in the standard insurance market.
Can I choose coverage through the FAIR Plan instead of a standard insurance company?
Yes. But more comprehensive coverage options at lower premium costs may be available in the standard insurance market.
Is the cost for insurance coverage more expensive under the FAIR Plan?
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 and location of individual property, the coverage limits and deductibles, along with other factors establish the premium level for a policy.
Are there limits on the amount of coverage available?
Yes. The maximum coverage available under a dwelling or commercial policy is $1,500,000. Policies are issued only on an “actual cash value” basis.
How do I know if FAIR Plan coverage is best for me, and how do I apply for coverage?
Contact several insurance companies (or their insurance agents) regarding your situation and potential placement in the standard market. These insurance professionals should be able to respond to specific questions regarding your situation. If you can’t obtain coverage in the standard market, any Washington State licensed property insurance agent can assist you in applying for coverage through the FAIR Plan.
Will I be assigned an insurance agent to contact with questions about my insurance policy?
The FAIR Plan has no appointed agents. You may choose any licensed property insurance agent in Washington to assist you to submit an application 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. Of course, you can also contact the Washington FAIR Plan directly with any questions.
Do FAIR Plan policies have deductibles?
Yes. Just like insurance coverage in the standard market, there are a range of deductibles available for a policy. A higher deductible will reduce the premium.
What kind of payment plans are available at the FAIR Plan?
At this time, the FAIR Plan does not have any payment plans available. The full annual premium must be paid before a new policy can be issued and again at each annual renewal. Coverage is not effective until full payment is received by the FAIR Plan. Premium payment must be by insurance agency check, mortgagee check, licensed premium finance company check, money order, or certified/cashier’s check.
If I obtain a policy in the standard market, can I cancel my FAIR Plan policy? How much premium will be returned to me?
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.
Do FAIR Plan policies contain exclusions?
Yes, FAIR Plan policies contain both exclusions and other coverage limitations. An insurance policy is a contract. You should thoroughly review your policy and endorsements and discuss any questions about policy exclusions and limitations with your agent.
If I am renting property, can I obtain insurance coverage for my personal belongings? Is liability coverage available?
Basic insurance coverage is available for personal belongings and the contents of dwellings and structures. Theft and liability coverages are not available.
How do I file a claim with the FAIR Plan?
You should immediately notify your agent or the FAIR Plan and provide specific information regarding your claim.
Once I secure coverage through the FAIR Plan, how will I know when I am again eligible for coverage in the standard market?
It is recommended that you frequently 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 standard market.
Where can I obtain further information about the FAIR Plan?
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: