In insurance circles, an act of God is a natural event that is outside the sphere of influence of human beings. For example, a lightning strike is an act of God because people can't control lighting. While lighting is a clear-cut example of an act of God, there are some cases that are not that explicit.
Homeowner's insurance doesn't differentiate between acts of God per se. Most of the policies don't even identify some risks as such. Standard home insurance covers some, but not all, of the risks that people refer to as acts of God. For example, wind, rain, and hailstorms are usually covered. However, earthquakes and floods are usually excluded. Of course, the coverage and exclusions vary by policies.
In some cases, human activities or influence contribute or determine the extent of the damage. For example, a poorly-maintained roof is more likely to suffer wind damage than a properly maintained roof. Another example is a bushy home that faces a higher risk of wildfire damage than a home whose vegetation has been properly cleared or trimmed.
In such cases, the insurance company might consider the human contribution to determine whether the damage is covered. The human influence also determines your home insurance rates or even the validity of coverage. For example, your home insurance company might refuse to renew your coverage if your home is depilated and poorly-maintained since such a home faces a high risk of damage from all angles, including act of God events.
You can reduce your exposure to act of God losses in two main ways. First, you need to take measures to mitigate your losses in case of a natural disaster. For example, you should:
- Take flood mitigation measures, such as proper landscaping and drainage, to reduce the risk of flooding.
- Use fire-resistant materials in your house to reduce the risk of wildfire damage.
- Maintain your home, for example by fixing roof defects promptly, to reduce the extent of the damage your home will incur if a disaster does strike.
Secondly, you can also buy additional coverage for the acts of God that your policy excludes. For example, you can buy separate flood coverage. The additional coverage is particularly necessary for those living in areas with heightened risks, such as those who live in flood zones or near fault lines (elevated risk of an earthquake).
Hopefully, your home is fully covered from all risks including acts of God. Talk to your insurance agent for further help on enhancing your home's protection.Share