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Rejecting Acts of God on Homeowners Coverage

ff-4I heard a preacher say this from the pulpit. “It’s no wonder the angels always have to start with “Fear Not.” We take the most horrific things that can happen to us and classify them under the term “Acts of God.” He was right. Insurance companies classify the worst of the worst occurrences and lump them under a category that can also be called, “And you expect payment for this?”

Most auto insurance policies offer coverage for acts of God, at least they do if you have comprehensive coverage. Homeowner policies, though, are often more fraught with holes in this area than Uncle Fester’s home ripened Swiss cheese.

WiseInsuranceQuotes wanted to know what is covered and what isn’t when catastrophe strikes. What we found made us say, “Good Lord!”

1- Floods: If a catastrophic hurricane or tsunami strikes without warning, causing water to rise and wreak havoc on your home and property – you may be surprised to learn that you’re on your own. Standard home insurance policies typically only include protection against water damage caused by a leaky roof or a burst pipe. Rising water – such as flooding generated by a hurricane or other severe storm – presents a different type of risk and can therefore typically only be covered by a separate flood insurance policy. This separate policy will be prohibitively expensive if your dream home happens to be located in a flood plain.

2- Earthquakes: Any “earth movement” events that are not man made, such as earthquakes, tremors, landslides, mudslides, volcanic eruptions and more may be excluded from a standard homeowners insurance policy. Some cover damage resulting from fires caused by earthquakes; however, if you think earthquakes or those other hazards present a threat in your area (cough, California, cough), you should purchase a separate policy.

3- Tornadoes: This one gets a little tricky. Some carriers classify winds accompanied by twisty funnels like any other windstorm. If that’s the case with your policy you’re golden. Some carriers, though, consider a tornado an Act of God since it is a natural disaster outside of human control. Coverage varies widely from carrier to carrier, so it’s best to go over the fine print of your policy. There are no “tornado” riders that can be put on standard homeowner’s policies.

“Insurance companies have sharply hollowed out the catastrophe coverage offered to consumers by raising deductibles, capping replacement costs and removing coverage for wind damage if another non-covered event also occurs,” according to the Consumer Federation. “For those homeowners that live in hurricane-prone areas, that includes flooding caused by storm surge.”

Whatever your beliefs about climate change, the number of catastrophic weather events in the United States has grown in number and intensity in the last 20 years. Knowing exactly what is in your insurance policy, and what will be in the renewal envelope if you claim, has never been more important. This is an area that WiseInsuranceQuotes will keep an eye on in the months and years to come.