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The ditch that ate Baltimore

By Crissinda Ponder · Bankrate.com
Friday, May 2, 2014
Posted: 4 pm ET

Baltimore is dealing with the aftermath of a landslide that took out sections of a street, retaining walls, gates -- and several parked cars.

The block-long collapse happened Wednesday, after the "Charm City" endured two days of heavy rain. A witness captured video of the street giving way as onlookers screamed and cars and street lamps disappeared in a splashing crash onto train tracks 75 feet below.

Is the damage insured?

Tim Rogers' Volvo was one of the cars swallowed by the landslide. It was then damaged further by backhoes that were clearing the tracks of the wreckage, which included seven other vehicles, according to a local NBC affiliate station.

But he said his insurance company told him it wouldn't compensate him for the damage because the landslide was an "act of God."

"I don't think I could have stopped the ground from collapsing under my car, and that's not covered," Rogers told WBAL-TV.

But as long as the car owners have comprehensive coverage as part of their car insurance policy, the landslide damage should be covered, says Loretta Worters, a spokeswoman for the Insurance Information Institute, a New York-based trade group.

Good argument for having comprehensive

"There's no such thing as an 'act of God' so I don't know what his agent was telling him," Worters says. "He needs to speak with his agent's supervisor because if he has comprehensive, he should be covered."

To save on premiums, drivers sometimes drop the comprehensive portion of their policy as their car ages. It's a decision that can be regretted when disasters occur.

"Review your insurance regularly to make sure you have the right type and amount of coverage," Worters advises.

Read my car insurance primer to determine how much coverage you really need.

Follow me on Twitter @CrissiPonder.

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