More Oklahoma homeowners are buying earthquake insurance and trusting that they will be covered if their home is damaged. However, a local attorney said the devil is in the details. That is why he is offering to review your earthquake policy for free.
“Policies can be long, I think my homeowners policy is 70 pages long, so to be able to read all of that policy language is difficult,” said attorney Mark Wilson. “That's where we come in.”
Wilson said if you get earthquake coverage, know what is and is not covered: Does the policy cover manmade earthquakes, which is also known as "induced seismicity?" Is your policy limited to damage from one earthquake or can it be built-up damage from numerous earthquakes?
When it comes to damage, if you can see it, think about damages that are hidden from view.
“Our doors sometimes will scrape a little bit when they got to close and then an earthquake or two later, they'll close, so that says to me my whole house is twisting and shifting back and forth,” Wilson said. “If my house is affected, other houses are affected.”
If you file a claim with your insurance company, Wilson suggested getting an engineer or independent adjustor to give you a second opinion on actual damages to compare to what the insurance adjustor tells you.
Call (405) 525-1900 if you want your policy reviewed for free or visit www.markwilsonlaw.com
Earthquake Insurance statistics from the Oklahoma Insurance Department:
According to the Oklahoma Insurance Department (OID), 2014 numbers are the last available records for earthquake insurance claims.
The OID polled most of the top 10 carriers of the 150+ total carriers and found 103 earthquake insurance claims were filed and 8 of those claims were paid.
The OID said there were various reasons for the unpaid claims like the carrier determined the damage was not caused by earthquakes, the claim is still pending, the claim was denied, the policy holder did not want to meet the deductible and a number of other variables.
The department recently sent out an Earthquake Bulletin Compliance Survey covering about 92% of the market and found 156 carriers had written some form of Earthquake coverage in Oklahoma: