Earthquake insurance is needed
A shaky start to the new year in southern Oklahoma is a good reminder to review homeowners’ and renters’ insurance policies and consider purchasing earthquake insurance.
The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) reported a 2.8-magnitude quake in Stephens County in early January. It’s the first of what is likely to be many earthquakes Oklahoma will experience in the upcoming year.
“We have had a significant number of earthquakes in the past year alone, which reinforces the seriousness of adding earthquake coverage to insurance policies,” said Oklahoma Insurance Commissioner John D. Doak. “It is important to protect your home and possessions from natural disasters when the potential damages can be staggering to your finances.”
According to the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC), 90 percent of Americans live in areas that experience occasional tremors. Ninety-five earthquakes with a 1.8-magnitude or greater were reported in Oklahoma in 2012, with the strongest registering a 3.8-magnitude. Oklahoma experienced a record-breaking 5.6-magnitude quake in November 2011 that damaged dozens of homes and businesses. Yet, less than one percent of Oklahomans carry earthquake insurance, which is not included in a standard homeowners policy.
“Oklahoma is at risk for earthquakes, with parts of the state considered at moderate risk,” said Doak. “Oklahoma Emergency Management has reported an increase in earthquakes in Oklahoma in the past two years. Not only can earthquakes generate a great deal of damage to your property, but they can also cause a great deal of damage to your personal finances if you’re not sufficiently covered.”
The cost of an earthquake policy varies, depending on level of coverage and other factors, but typically, an Oklahoma homeowner can expect to pay $100 to $150 per year for earthquake insurance. It covers repairs to your home and personal contents and may also cover other structures not attached to your house, like a garage. It may also pay for debris removal.
Oklahoma consumers with questions about earthquake insurance or any other insurance-related matter can call the Oklahoma Insurance Department’s Consumer Hotline toll-free at 800-522-0071 or visit http://www.ok.gov/oid/earthquake_tips.html.