Oklahomans start to think about earthquake insurance

The rapid growth of hydraulic fracturing (“fracking”) exploration has created new questions for insurance professionals. This is foremost uncertainty about whether a man-made earthquake, one triggered by the stimulation of natural resources deep beneath the surface of the Earth, should be covered in standard policies. Because they don’t technically fit the criteria of some separate earthquake insurance policies, these rare incidents are a major question mark for homeowners. 

Recent activity in Oklahoma has lead insurance specialists to reevaluate definitions of “earthquakes” to include a broader set of terms. 

“More companies are writing [earthquake insurance] in Oklahoma, and they’re adding coverage to include quakes that could be tied to oil production, which wasn’t always the case,” writes Emily Bryon of News on 6. “Before, people could have been left in the position of proving the damage was caused by a naturally-occurring quake because man-made quakes weren’t covered. Now, some new policies are covering earthquakes no matter what the cause.”

The fact remains that in many areas of the country where naturally occurring earthquakes are common, homeowners seldom invest in earthquake insurance, anyway. By some reports, only 10 percent of Californians choose to cover their homes in the event of an earthquake. As fuel exploration reaches new parts of the country, this consideration is one more Americans may need to make in coming years. 

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