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Facts of Earthquake Insurance: Waste of Money or Worth Every Penny?

By February 18, 2016October 6th, 2020Insurance

Tree on HouseThis past Saturday, our state was rocking and rolling—literally.  On the Great Plains this past Saturday we experienced a 5.1 magnitude earthquake, the largest to rattle us since 2011. But that wasn’t the only one we experienced. Over this past weekend at least 9 minor earthquakes occurred sending Facebook into a flurry with everyone asking the same questions; “Did you feel that?” Earthquake insurance has been around for a long time, but in the past few years the daily occurrence of Earthquakes has increased so significantly that it has become a hot topic. Not every earthquake policy is created equally though. Here’s a few things to look out for.

  • Home insurance doesn’t mean you have earthquake coverage–  Most home policies don’t automatically include coverage for earthquakes. Some companies can add it by endorsement to your current homeowner’s policy or on a separate policy. We usually see pricing between $75-$500. On commercial buildings, it depends on the size and area on pricing.
  • Do I need earthquake insurance? In Oklahoma we are lucky enough to sit on a fault line called the New Madrid Fault. According the Insurance Information Institute there’s a 40%-63% chance this region will suffer an earthquake with 6.0 magnitude or higher in the next 15 years.
  • Let’s talk deductibles – On your personal home, deductibles usually range from 2% to 10% of your homes insured value. This means if your home is worth $100,000 then after $10,000 in repairs, the earthquake insurance would kick in.  On commercial buildings, earthquake deductibles usually start at 5% and can go as high as 15%.
  • What will it cover? A normal, basic policy will cover only the home itself. It’s important to read between the lines because normally it does not include brick and mortar. If you own a brick home the most common destruction will most likely occur on those two things. Specifically ask for it. Make sure to find out whether it will cover other structures such as a detached garage or shed and also find out if it’s applicable to your contents.
  • Is it natural or man-made? Check your exclusions. A large majority of companies exclude man-made earthquakes. With the oil and gas industry rampant in Oklahoma, it may be hard to determine what the actual cause is. Choose a company that doesn’t exclude it. We have three that can write it stand alone for fairly inexpensive.

Be prepared for an earthquake. Know how to turn off the water, gas appliances and that fixtures are fastened tightly. If you’re inside and an earthquake occurs stay inside and get under a heavy table or doorway. If you have questions regarding Oklahoma earthquake insurance, ask your agent. If you’d like a quote,  ECI is always here.