MCLOUD, Okla. - A man says his house was damaged in a recent earthquake in an area that does not see a lot of earthquake activity.
"I was on my way to the kitchen and it actually shook me enough, I thought the house was going to fall in," said George Jones.
Jones has lived in the McLoud area for nearly 40 years. He said he was surprised to feel an earthquake in 2015 and again on Thursday, which was recorded at 3.7. It left cracks to Jones’ home, including on the ceiling and walls, on S. McLoud Road, which joins other damages from earthquakes which he tried to fix himself over the years.
"I shouldn’t be paying earthquake insurance, but my insurance company won’t fix the damages unless you have earthquake insurance," he told News 4.
Jones currently pays about $1,100 for homeowners insurance. Convinced the recent rumbles are the result of fracking, he does not believe he should foot the bill for added expense of earthquake insurance.
"There’s people that their houses have been shaken off the foundation and they’re out thousands of dollars which they can’t pay and the insurance is not going to pay for the damages," he explained.
Kelly Dexter of the Oklahoma Insurance Department said earthquake insurance and homeowner insurance have always been separate, because earthquake insurance is for catastrophic losses.
"It’s fairly affordable but comes with a much higher deductible, because the product is designed to protect a homeowner if their home is reduced to rubble. While the chances of an earthquake destroying your home are low, if it does happen and you don’t have the earthquake endorsement added to your standard policy, you’d have to replace your $200,000 home all on your own because it won’t be covered by a standard policy alone," explained Dexter.
She added, their office believes homeowners should strongly consider that fact when deciding whether to add the earthquake endorsement.
"For many people, spending $150 a year on the earthquake endorsement brings peace of mind that they won’t be financially ruined in the event an earthquake destroys their home," said Dexter.
The Oklahoma Cooperation Commissioner acts as a regulator for oil and gas companies when it comes to exploration and production. Public information officer Jim Palmer told News 4 most earthquakes in Oklahoma have been in the Arbuckle formation and have been the result in the past of salt water disposal or injection wells; however, that does not appear to be case in McLoud.
"Looking at the well maps and deciding there was nothing there within 12 miles around that area where the quake occurred, there wasn’t anything we could really do," said Palmer. "Sometimes there are quakes from slippage of fault lines underground that we can’t determine in advanced and of course we can’t take direct action on fault lines that slip underground."
Palmer told us their office has taken many steps over the years to decrease the frequency of earthquakes.
"At one point, we had over 1,000 quakes in one year and then it dropped to 50 percent of that in 2016, I believe. From 2016 to the end of this year, we’re down again dramatically," he said. "We have taken action on a number of saltwater injection wells in the Arbuckle formation by either shutting them down or in case of some wells, we’ve reduced the amount of injection and the pressure of injection."
As of right now, they're not sure exactly what caused Thursday's earthquake. If you are in an area that needs attention from an earthquake, we're told you should contact the Oklahoma Geological Survey.