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Oklahoma earthquakes stir interest in insurance coverage

A standard homeowners' insurance policy does not cover earthquake damage.
by Don Mecoy Published: November 7, 2011

Some insurance companies place moratoriums on new coverage after a strong earthquake, sometimes for up to two months, industry officials said.

John Wiscaver, vice president of public affairs for Oklahoma Farm Bureau Insurance, said the vendor his company uses for earthquake policies has a 72-hour moratorium on new policies until all activity associated with an earthquake measuring larger than 5.0 has ceased. The smaller quakes that followed Saturday's record-setter mean that moratorium is still in place, he said.

“That's sort of an industry standard,” Wiscaver said. “A lot of companies have a similar type of moratorium.”

While earthquake coverage premiums can vary widely, Wiscaver said central Oklahoma homeowners would pay about $125 to $175 per year for coverage for a $100,000 wood-frame home with a $10,000 deductible. Similar coverage for a brick home worth $100,000 would cost $150 to $225 per year with the same 10 percent deductible, Wiscaver said.

Earthquake insurance deductibles are based on a percentage of the value of the covered property. Some policies exempt coverage for a home's brick or stone veneer.

Oklahoma Insurance Commissioner John Doak, after several minor quakes in October, advised consumers to at least consider buying coverage.

“Earthquakes can strike at any time and without warning,” Doak said on Oct 28. “But in Oklahoma, we've been getting clues for some time now that a damaging event could be in our future. There is no time like the present to consider that future, and the policyholder's potential need for earthquake coverage.”

by Don Mecoy
Business Editor
Business Editor Don Mecoy has covered business news for more than a decade after earlier working on The Oklahoman's city, state and metro news desks, including a stint as city editor. He has won state and regional journalism awards for business,...
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