Oklahoma quake changes the way people think about insurance

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Virginia Earthquake DamageFollowing the earthquake in Oklahoma many people have opened their eyes to the type of coverage that they do – and do not – have for their homes and belongings.

What they’re discovering, far more often than not, is that their insurance coverage does not extend to the type of damage that would result from a quake. Typical renters’, homeowners’ and commercial insurance will not offer protection for a structure or the possessions it contains, should they be damaged in an earthquake.

The residents of Oklahoma are asking questions about this type of coverage following the recent tremors, and are likely doing so for the first time, as the state has only very rarely ever experienced this type of seismic event. They are wondering if they should obtain a form of earthquake insurance.

Generally speaking, insurance companies don’t make earthquake products available immediately following a significant quake. There is often a moratorium created by an insurer for selling supplemental earthquake coverage that can range from a few days to several months after an earthquake that had a 5.0 or larger recorded intensity. The early November quake in Oklahoma had a 5.6 magnitude.

Furthermore, many insurers don’t start their moratorium until all of the earthquake’s activity has ended, including any aftershocks or other seismic occurrences. There have been many smaller quakes that have followed the largest one on November 5.

Representatives in the industry are starting to suggest that consumers take the time now to consider whether or not they want the additional coverage, so that they can have their decision ready when the moratorium ends.

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