Insurance Questions: What Is An Act Of God? Are They Covered By Insurance?
Regardless of religious affiliation, weather events such as hurricanes, tornadoes, hail storms and even fires, in some cases, can be classified legally as Acts of God. And your insurance company might not be liable to pay.
Acts of God, in terms of insurance, refer to an event that could not have been prevented through measures of precaution. Let’s dive in to explain what they are, if and how they’re covered and what to do if it happens to you.
What’s an Act of God?
Acts of God can include damage caused by natural disasters, and things that can’t be chocked up to human error.
For example, if lightning strikes your home and fries all the electronics you had plugged in, it’s likely considered an Act of God. Same goes if a windstorm causes a tree’s branches to fall on your car and smash the sunscreen, windshield and body.
Are Acts of God covered by insurance?
It depends on your policy.
Flooding, for example, is something that may not be preventable, but most homeowners policies do not cover the cost to repair this kind of water damage. However, you can purchase a separate flood policy for your home, which is a good idea, especially if you live by a body of water. For auto insurance, flood damage is usually only covered if you have comprehensive coverage.
If it’s a tree falling on your house or car, you may be covered. If a perfectly healthy tree was ripped from the ground during a strong windstorm, your insurance policy may include coverage – unless you live in an area that’s susceptible to tornadoes. If the tree in question was rotten, your insurance company may claim that a large, thick branch falling from a rotten tree could have been prevented by removing it from your property – which could make you liable for damage. If the rotten tree is on your neighbor’s property, they could be liable for the damage done to your house or car. The question is whether the damage was foreseeable or preventable.
Acts of God can be murky when it comes to insurance. It’s best to call your provider and have them walk you through your coverage to understand which scenarios are covered and which aren’t. Ask plenty of questions, and if you find out that you may not be covered in certain situations, ask about adding a rider to your policy.
Insurance companies typically try to place the blame on a person when disasters happen, but some things simply can’t be considered human error.
Make sure you fully understand your policy so there’s no question about whether Acts of God are covered or not so that a stressful situation doesn’t turn into financial ruin.
Shannon Ireland writes for SafecoInsurance.com and HomeownersInsurance.com, an online resource for homeowners and drivers across the country. Offering automobile and homeowners insurance quotes, consumers rely on HomeownersInsurance.com for competitive rates from top-rated insurance carriers. The HomeownersInsurance.com blog provides fresh tips and advice on a range of financial topics to help homeowners and homebuyers make educated decisions about their insurance purchases.
The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.