Many Oklahomans Looking Into Earthquake Insurance

Many insurance agencies say their phones were constantly ringing with earthquake insurance requests.

Monday, November 4th 2013, 8:15 pm

By: News 9

More than a dozen earthquakes rattled central Oklahoma over the weekend, and because of those quakes many insurance agencies say their phones were constantly ringing with earthquake insurance requests.

So how easy or expensive is it to get earthquake insurance?

Several insurance agents say getting earthquake insurance requires a fairly inexpensive premium you can get by simply asking your agent to add it to your current policy.

A series of small earthquakes shook parts of Edmond , Spencer, Jones and Oklahoma City. The highest quake was about a 3.8 magnitude in Edmond.

The sudden shakes sent many calling their insurance agents Monday morning.

"Most of today's calls are what does it take to get additional coverage for earthquake type insurance?" said Lance Singleton, the Chief Financial Officer for the Oklahoma Agency Alliance (OAA).

OAA represents 93 insurance carriers, and Singleton says getting earthquake insurance is fairly cheap and simple.

"A $100,000 home, it can be endorsed maybe as low as $45 dollars, and it could be as much as 2 to $300," Singleton said.

Singleton says premiums depend on your location and can be added or "endorsed" to your current homeowners insurance.

11/2/2013 Related Story: Oklahoma Geological Survey Records 16 Quakes Around OKC

Insurance carriers offer deductibles as low as two percent of the value of your home and as high as 20 percent.

Here's a list of different insurance agencies deductible options:

Travelers- 2%, 5%, 10%, 20%

State Farm- 2% or 5%

Farmers Insurance- 2%

Hartford -10% deductible

Metlife – 5%. 10% or 20%

Foremost- 10%

Chubb- 2% or 5%

North Star, Safeco, Mercury, AMIG and OGA do not offer earthquake insurance coverage.

For a $100,000 home with a 10 percent deductible, a homeowners would pay $10,000 before any insurance would cover the damages.

Singleton says many agencies have a 30-day moratorium, where customers seeking earthquake insurance would have to wait at least 30 days after an earthquake of magnitude-4.0 or greater before they can start receiving insurance.

State Farm agent Michell Dallal says a home at a value of $200,000 with a two percent deductible could cost you $60 annual premium. But Dallal says there are two deductibles the person with earthquake insurance would pay after receiving earthquake damage. The customer would pay two percent of the home's value, plus an additional two percent of the value of the home's interior contents, if there was damage done to both.

The OAA says typical coverage for most Oklahomans would cost on average $80-$300 annually depending on your carrier. It is much more expensive for a policy not added to your existing insurance. Most companies that are stand-alone markets for earthquake have premiums that cost around $300-$500 annually.

"The time to ask for earthquake insurance like anything else, it's planning, don't wait until you have like five or six seismic activities to say oh my goodness I need insurance," said Singleton. "What is it worth to you, and adding a $300 policy or a $500 policy to protect a $100 to $200,000 to a half a million-dollar home is relatively inexpensive."

Singleton says to be sure to check if "Exterior Masonry Veneer" is included in your earthquake coverage since many Oklahoma homes are made of brick, but many agencies neglect to inform customers of that added option.


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