Each year, tornadoes and wildfires threaten the property and lives of Oklahoma homeowners. Purchasing a comprehensive home insurance policy can offer protection from damages by such severe weather and other unforeseen events.
How Much Does Home Insurance Cost?
According to the Insurance Information Institute, in 2010, the average annual premium for homeowners insurance in Oklahoma was $1,246. Due to tornadoes and wildfires, Oklahoma is one of the most expensive states to buy home insurance. Insurance companies consider several factors when determining the cost of a homeowner’s insurance.
Homeowner’s insurance rates are based on factors including type of construction, the age of the house, its distance from fire protection, policy deductibles, discounts, claims history, and the policy holder’s credit score. A poor credit rating may raise the cost of the premium or may make it difficult to obtain homeowner’s insurance. Multiple claims may lead to a surcharge or additional premium, but an insurance company may not surcharge for weather-related claims. Discounts may be applied to a homeowner’s insurance premium if the homeowner installs impact-resistant roofing, deadbolt locks, approved electronic burglar alarms, smoke alarms, sprinkler systems, or other fire prevention systems.
What Does It Cover?
Homeowner’s insurance covers damage to the policy holder’s dwelling and property. A standard homeowner’s insurance policy will cover loss from a fire, windstorm, hail, explosion, riot or civil commotion, aircraft, vehicles, smoke, vandalism and malicious mischief, and theft of personal property. A standard homeowner’s insurance policy will usually exclude coverage of earthquake, flood, war, and nuclear hazard damage, which may require a separate policy or endorsement for coverage. Home insurance usually provides liability protection in case you are found at fault for injuring someone or damaging their property.
Do I Have to Get Home Insurance?
Home insurance is not required by law in Oklahoma. However, buying insurance can help protect your house and property against damage from unforeseen circumstances, and liability for accidents that injure other people or damage their property. The Oklahoma Insurance Department has more information for consumers about home insurance.
Optional Coverage to Consider
- Flood. Standard homeowner’s insurance does not cover flooding. The National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) works with private insurance companies to offer flooding insurance for homeowners and renters who are living in a community that has joined the program. Flood insurance provides coverage for both a building and its contents. FEMA reports that Oklahoma is prone to flooding. Even if you live in a low-risk area, it may be advisable to consider flood insurance, as 20% to 25% of claims come from low-risk areas.
- Fire and Lightning. Fire and lightning damages are covered in most standard homeowner’s insurance policies, but you should check your homeowner’s insurance policy to determine the amount of coverage you have in the event of a wildfire. Make an inventory of your property so that in the event of a fire, you are able to document your losses when filing an insurance claim.
- Hazard. Standard in most homeowner’s insurance policies, hazard insurance covers physical damage. Be aware of what damages are included or excluded in your policy. Further coverage may be purchased by paying an additional premium for various endorsements.
- Windstorm. Most standard homeowner’s insurance policies cover damage caused by wind, wind-driven rain, trees or other falling objects, and structural collapse. Review your policy with an agent, since an average of 53 tornadoes strike Oklahoma each year, and your policy may not fully cover damages caused by a tornado.
- Earthquake. Oklahoma Emergency Management reports an increase of earthquake activity in recent years. Earthquake insurance covers structure and property damages caused in an earthquake, and may also cover damage to detached structures, debris removal, and living expenses while undergoing home repair. An earthquake insurance premium is determined by the home’s location, age, and construction. Keep in mind that earthquake insurance will not cover the cost of external water damage, which is covered in flooding insurance, or damage to the land such as a sinkhole, which may require an additional premium.
Mobile Home Insurance
Mobile home insurance, also known as manufactured home insurance, functions similarly to homeowner’s insurance. It covers the structure of your home and the furniture, clothing, and appliances within it from damage caused by fire, lightning, smoke, falling objects, vandalism, and theft. Some mobile plans may also include liability insurance and coverage for additional living expenses if your home is damaged and temporarily uninhabitable.