TULSA, Okla. (AP) -- Oklahoma's insurance commissioner is advising residents to purchase earthquake insurance after a national report suggested that seismic activity in the central part of the state is here to stay.
Commissioner John Doak said quake damage can cripple the finances of property owners who haven't purchased policies.
"Looking into earthquake insurance after your home or business has sustained damage resulting from an earthquake will do little good to help you recover," Doak said Tuesday in a statement. "Now is the time to protect yourself before the next one occurs."
A report released last week from the U.S. and Oklahoma Geological surveys suggests an earthquake "swarm" continues to affect central Oklahoma after a record 5.6-magnitude quake rattled Oklahoma in November 2011.
Since January 2009, more than 200 magnitude 3.0 or greater earthquakes have hit central Oklahoma — marking a significant rise in the frequency of the seismic events, the survey reported.
The study also showed that one to three magnitude 3.0 earthquakes or larger occurred yearly in Oklahoma from 1975 to 2008, but the average grew to around 40 earthquakes per year from 2009-2013.
Earthquake policies vary in cost depending on multiple factors, including the desired level of coverage and deductible amount. Insurers also determine the premiums based on the property location, age and construction of the home and the cost to rebuild, Doak's office said.
An Oklahoma homeowner can expect to pay $100 to $150 per year for the coverage — which will cover repairs to the property and may cover other structures not attached to the house, like a garage. It also insures personal property against damage from an earthquake and covers the cost to remove debris, according to Doak's office.
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