What is an ‘act of God’?

On Behalf of | Sep 13, 2021 | Homeowner Claims

You may have heard the phrase an ‘act of God’ used in casual conversation before. It may surprise you to know that this is actually a specific term used in property insurance.

When used casually, if a person describes something as an act of God, it usually means something that was beyond anybody’s individual control. This definition also applies to insurance, but it is important to know what basic insurance will cover for an act of God and what it will not. According to Policy Genius, standard homeowner’s insurance will not cover floods, even though this is usually an instance outside of a homeowner’s control.

Drilling down into the definition

In the majority of homeowner’s policies, natural disasters and severe weather are acts of God. This is because these catastrophes are not the result of human actions and it is impossible for humans to prevent them from occurring.

Under a standard homeowner’s policy, insurance will cover many natural events. Common acts of God that a standard homeowners policy covers include hurricane damage, tornado damage, lightning damage, and volcanic eruptions. In many cases, homeowners insurance also covers wildfires and wind storms, but how much it covers may depend on if you live in a fire- or windstorm-prone area or not.

Regarding flooding

Most homeowner’s insurance policies will cover water damage in the event that it is sudden and accidental. An example of this would be a pipe bursting. However, most homeowners insurance does not cover damage from gradual leaks, plumbing backups or general flooding.

If you live in a flood-prone area, it is a good idea to purchase additional flood insurance to protect yourself against flood damage.