OK Residents Should Check Earthquake Insurance Coverage

<p>Homeowners in Edmond had some significant damage from Tuesday&rsquo;s 4.3-magnitude earthquake.</p>

Tuesday, December 29th 2015, 6:46 pm

Homeowners in Edmond had some significant damage from Tuesday’s 4.3-magnitude earthquake.  

The big earthquake comes as insurers in Oklahoma are asked to clarify what earthquake insurance covers and what it doesn't. 

The cause of the quakes has been the issue as some insurers have refused to pay damage claims saying the earthquakes were "man-made" caused by the oil and gas industry and not an act of nature. 

Tuesday morning's earthquake toppled a chimney, shattered windows and even rattled Russell Westbrook.

“Hell ya, man, I felt the earthquake,” the Thunder star said. “I thought I was dreaming but I wasn’t. I definitely felt the earthquake.”

The quake also triggered several calls to Dennis Chaumont's insurance agency.

“Every time we have a rumble, phone traffic picks up. People drop by the office making sure they have it,” Chaumont said.

Chaumont said they have paid several earthquake claims throughout the years and have some currently pending.

“We don’t stipulate if it’s man made, whether it’s natural causes, if it’s earthquake, if it’s assessed as earthquake damage we’re going to pay the claim," he said.

But that's not the case with all insurers. Insurance commissioner John Doak said out of approximately 100 claims made in 2014, insurance companies only paid eight.

So Doak issued a bulletin asking insurers to notify customers if they will cover so called "man-made" earthquakes.

“We’re asking insurance companies to be upfront, let policy holders know what they are covered for,” Doak said.

Doak also recommends customers contact your insurance agent and make sure you have the coverage you want and need. The first thing you should ask is if you are even covered earthquake insurance is separate from a standard policy.

Then, you need to decide if you want to pay the premium, which are generally pretty low. But in Oklahoma, most deductibles are high: 2, 5 or 10 percent so an insurance claim will only cover a huge loss.

“It’s meant to minimize a major financial catastrophe for the homeowner but also provide the coverage to masses of people,” Doak said.

The insurance commissioner said if you have questions about your policy or if you are having trouble getting your insurance agent to pay your claim you can contact his office. 


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