Earthquake Insurance Claims in OklahomaPosted October 20, 2016
The huge earthquake that occurred in Pawnee in September has many Oklahomans once again talking about getting earthquake insurance; however, it is important to note that, when it comes to earthquake insurance, insurance companies will often say that any settlement, as well as damage caused from settlement, is excluded under any and all earthquake policies. This is important to note for several reasons. In fact, between 2010 and 2016, less than 20 percent of actual earthquake insurance claims in Oklahoma were paid.
First, if the insurance company issues the policy without actually inspecting your home, what will often happen is, after the earthquake, their engineer will come out to do an inspection, and proceed to deny coverage under the claim that the damage is due to settlement, not the earthquake, and thus you are not covered under your policy for that damage. Thus, if you obtain earthquake insurance, it is vital that an inspector come out to inspect your home when you actually get the policy itself, as well as noting the information below.
Failing To Do Proper Inspections
In fact, this has been such an issue here in Oklahoma that the insurance commissioner had to notify insurance companies last year that if they intend to deny a claim for pre-existing damage, he expects the insurance company to have inspected the property prior to the inception of the coverage itself. Still, this notification is not binding, and many are finding that the insurance companies are still failing to do the initial inspections. One way to handle this as a customer is to refuse to provide your service if they do not do the inspection, or ensure that the inspection is done on your own by taking pictures and documenting everything so that you have a ‘before and after’ comparison, so to speak.
It is also important that you know the ins and outs of your insurance policy before you purchase it. For example, in Oklahoma, you will sometimes see fracking exclusions listed in earthquake insurance policies, where by the company won’t cover a “man-made” earthquake (and by man-made, they mean any earthquake and/or damage that could be due to fracking, mining, or drilling).
Denied Policy Options
Other possibilities for dealing with an insurance company that refuses to honor its obligations under your policy include filing a complaint with the insurance department, or speaking with an experienced attorney about your legal options.
Contact An Experienced Attorney. We Can Help
An insurance company’s refusal to cover damage caused by an earthquake can take a severe toll on you and your family. If you’ve sustained property damage, and you’ve been paying your insurance premiums, you have every right to expect that the insurance company honors their obligation to cover the damage.
If you have any questions related to bad faith insurance coverage, contact one of our dedicated attorneys at the Bennett Law Firm at 405-272-0303. We will help you schedule an initial consultation and figure out your next steps.