For Immediate Release:
February 15, 2024

Earthquake Insurance: What You Need To Know

By Oklahoma Insurance Commissioner Glen Mulready


The Oklahoma Insurance Department (OID) kicked off February with a post on X, formerly known as Twitter, announcing our Earthquake Awareness Month social media campaign. Ironically enough, a 5.1 magnitude quake struck near Prague, Oklahoma, about eight and a half hours later. I can assure you that OID cannot predict earthquakes, but this illustrates perfectly how earthquakes happen without warning and why you should always be prepared. This month, I want to provide helpful information to Oklahomans to help them determine their earthquake insurance needs.

What is earthquake insurance, and how does it work?

Earthquake insurance protects your home from earthquake-related damage. This coverage is an endorsement (amendment) to your existing homeowners policy or a separate, stand-alone policy. Contrary to what many consumers might think, a standard homeowners policy does not cover earthquake damage. Earthquake insurance works with your policy to offer more protection for your home.

What does earthquake insurance cover?

Earthquake insurance covers repairs needed because of earthquake damage to your home and may cover other structures not attached to your house, like a garage. Some policies may also cover your personal property against damage, the increased costs to meet current building codes, the stabilization of the land under your home and debris removal. The coverage can also pay for the extra living expenses you may have while your home is being rebuilt or repaired.

What does earthquake insurance not cover?

Each policy has different exclusions, so review your policy or contact your insurance company to find out exactly what isn’t included. Typically, earthquake insurance won’t cover something already included in your homeowners policy, such as fire damage, or any pre-existing damage to your home not caused by an earthquake. It typically won’t cover damage to vehicles either. Your car insurance policy may cover that damage.

Do I need earthquake insurance?

The United States Geological Survey (USGS) outlines some things to consider when purchasing earthquake insurance, like how close your home is to active faults, the earthquake history of the region, your home’s construction type and materials, and the slope of the land. It’s also necessary to consider your financial situation and how much it would cost to repair or rebuild your home. A qualified contractor or engineer can help you assess your risks. After an earthquake occurs, many insurance companies may impose a waiting period due to aftershocks, which is why it’s essential to be proactive and consider purchasing earthquake insurance before your home sustains damage.

What determines earthquake premiums and deductibles?

Factors, like your home’s size, location, age and construction type, determine premiums. Insuring your home for replacement cost or actual cash value also determines premiums. It’s important to note that earthquake deductibles are a percentage of the insured value of your home and not a usual set amount like $500 or $1,000 in homeowners policies.

Are there any additional resources about earthquakes and earthquake insurance?

As with all your insurance-related questions, OID is here for you. You can contact us at 800-522-0071 or visit our Earthquakes page for helpful information. I’ve included some additional resources at the links below:

Media questions or comments should be directed to
Chief of Communications, Liz Heigle | (405) 819-2221