Mansell, Engel & Cole

What is an “act of God” for insurance claims purposes?

Insurance policies are complex contracts. These contracts provide the basis for the agreement made between the company and the policy holder. These policies are often comprised of various provisions. Many of these clarify when damage is covered and when it is not. One example included in many policies is “act of God” provisions.

What is an “act of God” provision? Essentially, these types of provisions are used by insurance companies to cover damage caused by natural disasters. It is important to note that the policy may or may not use the term “act of God.” Other terms that could indicate this type of provision is present include perils, catastrophes or disasters.

Issues with these provisions are so common that CBS News discussed the problem in a recent article. One valuable piece of information from this article involved an example of fires within the home. The example clarifies the difference between what types of damage often are covered and which are not. Some forms of fire fall into the coverage of most home owner’s policies while others fall into the “act of God” provision. A fire caused by a faulty electric system or an unattended candle would likely be covered. In contrast, a fire that resulted from a lightning strike would not. The main difference between these two examples: the first is avoidable while the second is not.

What should I do if my insurance company refuses to cover my claim? Legal remedies may be available for homeowners that are denied a claim or receive an underpayment for a claim from an insurance company. Contact an attorney to discuss these options.

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