Earthquake Insurance: What You Need to Know
Earthquakes happen, and when they do, they can cause significant damage to your home and property. Insurance earthquake coverage varies greatly, so it’s important to understand your risks and which policies will offer you the greatest coverage and peace of mind.
As an independent insurance agency, Comma Insurance is able to offer you several choices for earthquake home insurance, not just a one-size-fits-all solution.
The professionals at Comma Insurance can help evaluate your risks and offer you a range of options so you can purchase earthquake insurance confidently, knowing that the coverage makes sense for you. Give us a call today to learn about your options and get a quote . 405.225.2820
Earthquakes happen, and when they do, they can cause significant damage to your home and property. Insurance earthquake coverage varies greatly, so it’s important to understand your risks and which policies will offer you the greatest coverage and peace of mind. There are many questions about earthquake insurance as well as homeowners or renters insurance. Do you need earthquake insurance to protect your home if you have insurance coverage for your home or apartment? Will personal property coverage be enough to replace your property? What about additional living expenses? What happens if you need to rebuild your home?
In this article, you’ll learn more about earthquake insurance, how it works, and what you need to know about buying an earthquake insurance policy.
Do You Really Need Earthquake Insurance in Oklahoma?
Yes, even though you live in Oklahoma, fault lines do exist and earthquakes happen. They can cost you thousands of dollars in damage to your home and your personal belongings. We aren’t just now known for our tornadic activity. It is now believed that the increase in hydraulic fracturing, better known as fracking, led to an increase in the number of intense earthquakes according to the geological survey. These earthquakes can cause serious property damage. An insurance claim placed through your homeowners or renters insurance policy is likely to be denied because an earthquake is generally listed as an exclusion.
This means that as an average person or average family, you could find yourself living off of your credit cards trying to cover additional living expenses while trying to replace your personal belongings and wondering how you will rebuild your home or pay to move.
If your agent only offers you earthquake insurance as a low cost rider to your existing homeowner’s or renter’s insurance policy, be sure to look at what it does and doesn’t cover: Personal belongings? Additional living expenses? Water damage? Enough to rebuild your home? Often these policies leave consumers with the impression they are fully covered for damage in an earthquake, when in reality, many insurers typically don’t cover cosmetic damage to brick exteriors, or they have very high earthquake deductibles – like 15-20% of your home value – before any benefits apply.
Earthquake Insurance Deductibles: How They Are Different from Homeowners or Renters Insurance
While earthquake insurance, homeowners insurance, and renters insurance all protect your home and provide some personal property coverage, it is important to recognize that the deductibles for homeowners or renters insurance coverage are different from that of earthquake insurance.
Both homeowners or renters insurance are similar to car insurance. Insurers typically offer deductibles in dollar amounts. For example, if you have a renters insurance policy, maybe you choose a $100 deductible and have a higher monthly premium. If you have a homeowners insurance policy, you may have a higher deductible, but it is still a fixed dollar amount. Once you pay the deductible, your insurance policy covers the damages depending on the type of policy you purchased (homeowners or renters insurance coverage).
Earthquake insurance deductibles are generally 10 or 20% of the policy amount. It is important to consider the amount needed to rebuild your home as well as what you would need in personal property coverage in addition to what you could reasonably pay in the amount of earthquake insurance deductibles. Yes, we wrote that correctly: earthquake insurance deductibles. You must carefully read and understand your earthquake insurance policy because you may have more than one deductible that you could be responsible for paying. For example, if you have a fence on your property or another structure in addition to your home, each one of those items may have a separate deductible.
FEMA and Earthquake Damage
As you have learned, homeowners insurance or renters insurance coverage generally excludes earthquakes. This is why it is crucial to purchase earthquake insurance to protect your home and personal belongings. One common question that people ask (and often look up on the internet) is whether FEMA helps people pay for earthquake damage.
FEMA helps by providing disaster assistance. However, you must apply for and qualify for that assistance. To do this, you must have several pieces of information. To qualify to apply for FEMA, you must make an insurance claim before you can file a claim through FEMA. Your claim does not need to be approved, denied, or settled to get help from FEMA. FEMA only provides you with assistance if your claim is delayed, you have exhausted the additional living expenses coverage from your insurance policy, or if what you are offered by insurance is not enough to meet your needs because of the disaster.
A FEMA inspection will also take place. These inspections are free of charge. It can take up to 10 days after the inspection to know whether your FEMA claim will be approved. FEMA’s disaster assistance will not rebuild your home. This highlights the importance of having earthquake insurance coverage that can protect your home that covers damages to your personal belongings.
Earthquake Insurance Policies: What's Excluded?
Since we mentioned to you that earthquakes are common exclusions homeowners or renters insurance policies (protip: flood insurance is also a separate policy because flooding is often excluded from those policies as well!), it is only fair to include a section on the common exclusions of earthquake insurance policies. After all, Oklahoma continues to see more and more earthquakes that cause significant damage to structures.
While you need to read your earthquake policy before you buy it, most many policies do not cover:
- The loss of landscaping, including gardening;
- The loss of your pool;
- The loss of your fence (otherwise, it may be covered by a separate deductible);
- The loss of a separate structure from your home, such as a detached garage or workshop (otherwise, each separate structure may be covered by a separate deductible);
- The loss of certain items such as broken crystal or china.
Protect Your Home: A Lesson from the California Earthquake Authority (CEA)
It is true that Oklahoma does not see as many damaging earthquakes as California, but our state still has fault lines as well as earthquakes that cause substantial damage.
While an earthquake policy will cover earthquake damage, you can protect your home and mitigate your risk of damage by taking a lesson from the California Earthquake Authority (CEA). They offer excellent tips that can help protect your home from damage in the event that you’re in an area that is struck by a major earthquake.
Some tips include knowing whether your home has any structural risks, properly brace walls that require it, ensure that your home is bolted down to the foundation, ensure that your chimney is in good repair, and make sure that your water heater is up to code. They also recommend having earthquake insurance.
Earthquake Insurance Coverage: Get a Quote
As an independent insurance agency, Comma Insurance can offer you several choices for earthquake home insurance, not just a one-size-fits-all solution. If your agent only offers you earthquake insurance as a low-cost rider to your existing homeowner’s or renter’s insurance policy, be sure to look at what it does and doesn’t cover: Personal belongings? Additional living expenses? Enough to rebuild your home?
The professionals at Comma Insurance can help evaluate your risks and offer you a range of options so you can purchase earthquake insurance confidently, knowing that the coverage makes sense for you. We aren’t here to sell you a random policy. We’re here to make a difference and help you protect your home with an earthquake insurance policy you understand. We can help you understand how earthquake insurance policies work, find the right policy and deductible for your needs, and help you feel better prepared for anything that Oklahoma has to offer.
Call Comma Insurance now to get your free, no-obligation quote for earthquake insurance: 405.225.2820!