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After Two 4.7 Quakes, Many Oklahomans Don't Know if Their Insurance Covers Them

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After a 4.7 magnitude earthquake hit northern Oklahoma early this morning — the second in less than two weeks — many Oklahomans with earthquake insurance are still waiting to see if they’re covered.

Insurers have a few days left to let consumers know whether their policies include earthquakes caused by oil and gas operations. Insurance Commissioner John Doak asked insurers in October to clarify because most of Oklahoma’s earthquakes are tied to wastewater injection.

"Really, the global earthquake industry on insurance is kind of watching what’s happening here and in other places around the United States," Doak said.

Doak gave insurers 45 days. Some are amending their policies to include wastewater injection, while others have waived exclusions of man-made quakes. Some insurers, however, still don’t cover them.

Doak said the recent earthquakes are an important reminder to buy coverage — just make sure your insurer covers earthquakes caused by human activity. Earthquake coverage is a standalone policy, typically with a deductible between 2 and 10 percent of the home's value.

"If you don’t have earthquake insurance, you’re self-insuring, which means you’re going to take on the entire loss," Doak said.

There’s usually a brief moratorium on new coverage after earthquakes bigger than 2.0 magnitude.

Matt Trotter joined KWGS as a reporter in 2013. Before coming to Public Radio Tulsa, he was the investigative producer at KJRH. His freelance work has appeared in the Los Angeles Times and on MSNBC and CNN.