A new federal earthquake map shows an increased risk for about half of the United States.
Although I’ve previously posted on the increased earthquake risk in Oklahoma, this newly released data made a reminder seem reasonable. On July 17, 2014, the U.S. Geologic Survey updated its national seismic hazard maps for the first time since 2008, taking into account research from the devastating 2011 earthquake and tsunami off the Japanese coast and the 2011 Virginia temblor.1
While the most recent changes are admittedly slight, Oklahomans should take note. Project chief Mark Petersen said parts of Washington, Oregon, Utah, Oklahoma, Colorado, Wyoming and Tennessee moved into the top two hazard zones.2
Oklahoma At Risk
This release follows the rare "earthquake warning" jointly issued on May 5, 2014 from the U.S. Geological Survey and the Oklahoma Geological Survey.3
"The rate of earthquakes in Oklahoma increased dramatically in March and April," Williams said. "That alerted us to examine this further and put out this advisory statement."4
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. Oklahoma’s last major earthquake was in November 2011, when a magnitude-5.6 earthquake centered near Prague, Oklahoma, destroyed 14 homes and caused several injuries. "Building owners and government officials should have a special concern for older, unreinforced brick structures, which are vulnerable to serious damage during sufficient shaking," Bill Leith, a USGS senior science adviser for earthquakes and geologic hazards, said in the joint statement.5
Motivational Poster For Today:
1 See, claimsjournal.com; Seth Borenstien, Earthquake Risk Increased for Nearly Half of U.S., 7-21-2014.
3 See, livescience.com; Becky Oskin, Rare Earthquake Warning Issued for Oklahoma, 5-5-2014