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Earthquake insurance – what you need to know

Earthquake insurance – what you need to know
Earthquake insurance – what you need to know

 


The Oklahoma Department of Insurance kicked off the month of February with a post on X, formerly known as Twitter, announcing our Earthquake Awareness Month social media campaign.

Ironically, a 5.1 magnitude earthquake occurred near Prague, about eight and a half hours later.

I can assure you that OID cannot predict earthquakes, but this perfectly illustrates how earthquakes happen without warning and why you should always be prepared.

This month I want to provide useful information to Oklahoma residents to help them determine their earthquake insurance needs.

What is earthquake insurance and how does it work?

Earthquake insurance protects your home from earthquake-related damage. This coverage is an endorsement (amendment) to your existing homeowners policy or a separate, stand-alone policy.

People read too…

Contrary to what many consumers may think, a standard homeowners policy does not cover earthquake damage. Earthquake insurance works with your policy to provide additional protection for your home.

What does earthquake insurance cover?

Earthquake insurance covers repairs needed due to damage to your home caused by an earthquake and may cover other structures not attached to your home, such as a garage.

Some policies may also cover your personal property against damage, increased costs of meeting current building codes, stabilizing the ground under your home and removing debris. Coverage can also cover additional living expenses you may incur while rebuilding or repairing your home.

What does earthquake insurance not cover?

Each policy has different exclusions, so review your policy or contact your insurance company to find out exactly what is not included.

Typically, earthquake insurance will not cover something that is already included in your homeowners insurance policy, such as fire damage, or any pre-existing damage to your home that was not caused by an earthquake.

It usually won't cover damage to vehicles either. Your car insurance policy may cover this damage.

Do I need earthquake insurance?

The USGS explains some things to consider when purchasing earthquake insurance, such as how close your home is to active faults, the history of earthquakes in the area, the type of construction and materials of your home, and the slope of the ground.

It is also necessary to take into account your financial situation and how much it will cost to repair or rebuild your home.

A qualified contractor or engineer can help you evaluate your risks. After an earthquake, many insurance companies may impose a waiting period due to aftershocks, which is why it's essential to be proactive and consider purchasing earthquake insurance before your home sustains damage.

What determines earthquake premiums and deductibles?

Factors, such as the size, location, age and type of construction of your home, determine your insurance premiums.

Insuring your home for replacement cost or actual cash value also determines your premiums.

It's important to note that earthquake deductibles are a percentage of the insured value of your home and not a typical set amount such as $500 or $1,000 in homeowners insurance policies.

Are there additional resources about earthquakes and insurance?

As with all your insurance questions, OID is here for you. You can call us at 800-522-0071 or visit our earthquakes page for helpful information.

– Glenn Mulready is a former state legislator who has served as Oklahoma's Insurance Commissioner since 2019. He was elected to the position in 2018.

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