With a major earthquake recently hitting California, it seemed an appropriate time to revisit earthquake insurance coverage issues. A report indicates that earthquake risks are rising in the U.S., but fewer homeowners nationally say they have earthquake insurance. This creates a potentially huge gap in coverage, according to the Insurance Information Institute.1
FEWER POLICYHOLDERS COVERED FOR EARTHQUAKE DAMAGE
The III’s concern revolves, in part around new U.S. Geological Survey maps issued in July 2014 that indicate 42 states are at risk of an earthquake, with 16 at high risk. Another III concern revolves around its 2014 survey, which found that 7% of homeowners nationally have earthquake coverage, down from 10% last year.2
What’s more, the III said, these trends become more urgent considering that standard coverage doesn’t automatically include earthquake-related damage. “Standard homeowners, renters and business insurance policies do not cover damage from earthquakes,” Jeanne Salvatore, the III’s senior vice president and chief communications officer, said in a statement. “Coverage is only available in the form of an endorsement or as a separate policy.”
As previously noted in this blog entry series, earthquake policies vary depending on the state and the state’s earthquake risks. We again urge policyholders to make sure they understand what is covered before an event strikes. “Everyone should contact their insurance professional to make sure that they understand their coverage and that they have the appropriate amount and type of coverage for the risks where they live,” Salvatore said.
OKLAHOMA EARTHQUAKE INSURANCE Q & A
As with any type of property damage insurance, several key points exist for Oklahoma property owners:
What is covered under an Earthquake policy?
Earthquake policies, like many other Oklahoma policies, vary greatly in coverage. Some policies provide coverage for every type of damage – bricks falling, sheet rock cracks, foundation repairs. Other Oklahoma earthquake policies exclude many of these types of damage. It is important to read the policy and/or have a policyholder professional help get these answers before you purchase an earthquake policy.
What is the deductible for Earthquake policies?
My research indicates that the deductible for an Earthquake policy is much higher than a typical Oklahoma homeowners insurance deductible. Earthquake deductibles run anywhere between 2% to as high as 15% of the property damage coverage amount.
How much does Earthquake coverage cost?
The cost of Earthquake coverage in Oklahoma remains somewhat variable. We have received reports that Earthquake policies typically cost between $30 to $400 a year depending on coverage and deductible.
Can I get Earthquake Coverage?
After a large Earthquake in Oklahoma, we have seen that many carriers invoke a 30 day moratorium in which they will not set up a new Earthquake policy.
WHAT DOES THIS MEAN FOR ME?
If you are a property owner in Oklahoma, consider acquiring Earthquake Insurance. While Oklahoma’s buildings can withstand light earthquakes, the damage from a magnitude-5 temblor could be widespread. The recent California earthquake registered 6.1 on the Richter Scale, and such an event in Oklahoma would no doubt cause widespread damage.
Motivational Poster For Today:
1 See, claimsjournal.com; 8/14/2014