Recent tremors should prompt policy review

At least seven tremors have been reported in Oklahoma during the month of October alone. Yet there are cracks in the earthquake insurance policies of many Oklahomans.

Most property insurance policies exclude damage caused by earthquakes. Oklahoma Insurance Commissioner John D. Doak said Friday that now is a good time for policyholders to speak with their agents – and for agents to be fully prepared to inform their policyholders – about the subject of earthquake insurance.

After tremors occur a waiting period normally exists before coverage can be added to a homeowners or commercial property insurance policy, but immediately in the wake of a quake is a good time for consumers and insurers to discuss all options.  Policyholders should inventory their belongings and speak with their agent to be sure their existing coverage is sufficient.  For clients who already have or who do purchase earthquake coverage, agents should be sure the consumer is aware that normally the policy has a separate and often substantial deductible.

“Earthquakes can strike at any time and without warning,” Commissioner Doak said Friday. “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.”

Commissioner Doak referred Oklahomans wanting more information about this type of coverage to the National Association of Insurance Commissioners’ “Consumer’s Guide to Earthquake Insurance.”