Act of God Insurance
The insurance industry uses the term “Acts of God” to refer to damage caused by something that’s outside of human control. These acts of nature can’t be predicted or prevented, but they can cause damage that may or may not be covered by your insurance company.
What is an Act of God?
An “Act of God” is a sudden, unexpected event that you can’t control or prevent. These are usually natural disasters like:
- Lightning strikes
Most things that aren’t under human control fall into this category.
Most insurance policies won’t specifically use the term “Act of God” in the policy, but they will describe specific natural disasters that either are or aren’t covered. For our purposes here, we’ll be talking about car insurance and homeowners insurance.
While auto insurance typically covers these types of events under comprehensive coverage, homeowners insurance policies often have exclusions for some or all of these ‘Acts of God.’ Read your policy carefully and look for where it mentions natural disasters, or ask your agent for coverage details when comparing auto or home insurance quotes.
Does my auto insurance cover Acts of God?
Many auto insurance policies include comprehensive coverage which covers damages to your vehicle that weren’t caused by a collision. This could include vandalism or theft, but also damage from a natural event unless specifically excluded.
If a windstorm smashes a tree onto your Volvo, your car insurance pays for repairs under comprehensive coverage, would say “which covers damages that are sudden, direct and accidental to your vehicle that weren’t caused by a collision. (as long as you have an active policy). You’ll still have to pay your deductible, however, and if the repairs exceed the car’s value your insurer might declare the car totaled.
Does my homeowners insurance cover Acts of God?
Which Acts of God your homeowners insurance covers can get complicated. With damage caused by natural causes, homeowners insurance policies spell out what they cover and what’s excluded.
Typically, they’ll pay out insurance claims for damage caused by wind, rain, or hail. But standard homeowners insurance often doesn’t cover other damage caused by natural disasters such as volcanic eruptions, earthquakes, and floods.
Also make sure to pay attention to your deductible, as the amount you’re responsible for varies with your different coverages.
Can I buy Acts of God insurance?
Insurers don’t sell specific policies called “Act of God insurance” but you may be able to add an act of god clause or expand coverage in your existing policies.
If your car is leased or financed your lender probably already requires you to buy comprehensive coverage.
And you can usually purchase two types of additional homeowners insurance policies: flood insurance and earthquake insurance.
If you finance a house in a designated flood plain, your lender will require that you carry flood insurance. It covers not only flood damage from a river overflowing or ocean rising but also water damage from blocked storm drain systems or melted snow.
Earthquake insurance covers you if an earthquake damages or destroys your home. (These insurance policies don’t cover damage to your car, though; that would still fall under your auto insurance policy.) Your homeowners insurance company may offer earthquake insurance as an add-on or endorsement to your policy, so it’s worth checking whether or not you need to purchase it separately.
Do I have to believe in God to have ‘Act of God’ insurance?
This is certainly not a requirement. Atheists and agnostics are all welcome to purchase these policy add-ons if they’re available.
What if I file a claim and my insurer deems it an Act of God?
What happens after you file an insurance claim related to an Act of God will depend upon your coverage and other factors. If you have proper auto insurance coverage for the dents and broken windshield caused by a hailstorm, your insurer will likely cover the damage after you’ve paid your deductible.
Homeowners insurance claims might require a visit from an adjuster who estimates the cost of repairs or replacement, which could have a specific deductible. The adjuster may examine your property to assess if you’ve taken “reasonable care” in maintaining it. This means that if you haven’t made repairs or had maintenance done on your roof, and you’re filing a claim for damages after a windstorm, they could deny your claim or reduce the amount you can claim.
If you live in an area prone to natural disasters, it’s important that you keep up with regular home repairs and maintenance. Property insurance can deny a claim or pay out less if your home’s condition contributed to the amount of damage caused by the natural event.
And don’t forget that when you first bought your auto or home insurance policy, you picked a limit, or maximum. This is the most that your insurer will pay out on a claim relating to natural events.