Oklahoma Insurance Commissioner Encourages Homeowners to Purchase Earthquake Insurance

October 30, 2013

Oklahoma Insurance Commissioner John D. Doak is encouraging Oklahomans to purchase earthquake insurance after a new report predicts continued seismic activity in the central part of the state. The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) said central Oklahoma has experienced more than 200 magnitude 3.0 or greater earthquakes since January 2009.

USGS reports an average of 40 earthquakes per year in Oklahoma from 2009 to 2013, an increase from an average of two to six yearly from 1975 to 2008. Oklahoma’s record-breaking 5.6-magnitude quake in November 2011 destroyed 14 homes and damaged dozens more. However, an estimated less than one percent of Oklahomans carry earthquake insurance. Standard homeowners or renters insurance policies do not cover damage caused from earthquakes.

Oklahoma Insurance Commissioner John Doak
Oklahoma Insurance Commissioner John Doak

“Reporting methods for earthquakes are continuing to get better as technology improves and the fact is that the earthquake rate has dramatically increased,” continued Doak. “We need to be prepared for any hazard that we face here in Oklahoma. Not only can earthquakes generate a great deal of damage to your property, they can cause a great deal of damage to personal finances if you’re not sufficiently covered.”

Earthquake policies vary in cost depending on multiple factors, including the desired level of coverage and deductible amount. Insurers also determine the premiums based on the property location, age and construction of the home and the cost to rebuild. An Oklahoma homeowner can expect to pay $100 to $150 per year for the coverage, which will cover repairs to the property and may cover other structures not attached to the house, like a garage. It also insures personal property against damage from an earthquake and covers the cost to remove debris.

Source: Oklahoma Insurance Department

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