A home insurance policy pays for the repair or replacement of your home, personal belongings, and other buildings and structures on your property. But what happens if your home suffers damage from an act of God? And what exactly is an “act of God?”
The sections below define acts of God and what home insurance companies actually cover.
What is an act of God clause?
An “act of God” represents an event that occurs through unpreventable natural causes. When it comes to an act of God and home insurance, the circumstances of such an act could not be avoided or prevented through caution or preventative maintenance. Examples of an act of God include natural disasters like tornadoes, flooding, and lightning damage.
An act of God clause is a part of many insurance policies and helps define what kind of acts of God the policy covers and which it doesn’t. Many insurance companies offer exclusions for such damage, at a price or even separate coverage, as is the case with flood insurance.
If you don’t know what your insurance covers when it comes to an act of God, talk to an agent or company representative for more information.
What acts of God does home insurance cover?
Even though some events represent an act of God, insurance companies still cover them. These specific acts of God include:
Acts of nature
- Falling objects, such as trees or tree branches
- Smoke damage
- Spoiled items of food resulting from a power outage
- Volcanic eruptions
- Wind damage from hurricanes, tornadoes, and other inclement weather
Acts of humans
- Damage resulting from riots and other civil unrest
- Vandalism and theft
- Terrorism resulting in explosions, fire, and smoke
What acts of God does home insurance not cover?
While your home insurance policy covers a variety of natural and human-caused acts of God, a few events exist that most home insurance companies do not cover, including:
- Areas at high risk for windstorms, such as hurricanes
- Flood damage
- Acts of war
- Damage caused by mold, rodents, or other pests
- Environmental contamination
- An overflowing sewer system, sump pump, or drain
- Terrorist attacks that include biological, chemical, or nuclear attacks
What is proximate cause?
Proximate cause represents a way in some states to get damage to your home covered when it would normally be considered an uncovered act of God. Proximate cause is when the event that damages your home is normally not covered by your home insurance policy, but it becomes covered due to its relation to another earlier event that is covered. In such a case, the first event in the chain of events could cause the coverage of subsequent events that follow.
In states that do not observe proximate cause rules, your only recourse is to buy additional insurance or extensions to cover acts of God normally not covered by your home insurance. Common extensions include extended water damage coverage to cover flooding; earthquake insurance in areas prone to earthquakes; and hurricane insurance for areas prone to hurricanes, such as along the East Coast.
You need to make sure that you own the proper insurance coverage for the area where you live, including insurance for acts of God not normally covered under a standard home insurance policy. To find out specifically what you need, talk to your insurance agent to get a better understanding of the various uncovered acts of God common in your area, as well as which type of coverage you need to make sure you are protected.