Oklahoma Insurance Commissioner John D. Doak wants to alleviate concerns about six-month moratoriums on purchasing earthquake insurance. The concerns were raised after a 5.8 magnitude earthquake in Pawnee on Sept. 3. A moratorium is a temporary suspension on issuing new earthquake insurance policies.
“While touring earthquake damage in Pawnee, several residents said they didn’t think they could purchase earthquake coverage for six months,” said Doak. “That’s just not true. We reached out to the industry and couldn’t find one with a moratorium longer than 60 days right now. In fact, several companies are already selling new earthquake insurance policies. Staying in touch with your agent is the best way to get the most current information. Don’t rely on rumors.”
Many insurers enact moratoriums after strong earthquakes in order to clearly separate one earthquake event from another. Coverage cannot be purchased for damage that has already occurred or is occurring. While the exact guidelines range from insurer to insurer, many companies trigger moratoriums after earthquakes with a magnitude of at least 5.0 for new policies within 100 miles of the epicenter. Typically, a small magnitude quake in the same area during the moratorium would not trigger an additional waiting period.
Consumers with questions about earthquake insurance are encouraged to call the Oklahoma Insurance Department’s Consumer Assistance hotline at (800) 522-0071.