"Forget the umbrella; grab a chainsaw" -- those fiends with fins are back for round two.
That's right, the flying fish of the Syfy Channel's disaster-film-turned-cult-classic "Sharknado" have done their damage in Los Angeles and are ready to take a bite out of the Big Apple in the new sequel "Sharknado 2." With last year's original, we learned that a typical home insurance policy would stand up to a "sharknado" because losses from wind events (including tornadoes) and falling objects (including sharks dropped by a freak twister) are covered, according to the industry group the Insurance Information Institute.
But what about condo and renters insurance, which might be more common in New York City? Would those policies cover this unusual peril?
Ian Ziering, properly armed and ready, in "Sharknado 2." © Dennis Van Tine/Geisler-Fotopres/dpa/Corbis
Shark chomps condo? You're covered!
The answer is yes, says Loretta Worters, an institute spokeswoman. For instance, if a shark tore through the roof of your condo, the damage would be covered under the part of your policy that protects the structure of your home, much like a homeowners policy.
"And you know, if, for some reason, the shark totally destroyed your condo, then you would also have 'additional living expenses' (coverage)," she explains. This type of coverage helps you maintain your standard of living while your home is being repaired.
The same sorts of reassurances are offered by renters insurance, which provides protection for your personal belongings. If a great white decided to make a meal out of your spankin' new sectional sofa, your insurer would have to pay up.
Worse than an LA sharknado?
The 2013 sharknado in L.A. would have caused more than $100 billion in losses, according to an estimate from AIR Worldwide, a catastrophe risk modeling firm based in Boston. "Economic losses will include the opportunity cost of countless hours of TV viewing and a near meltdown of social media outlet, Twitter," in addition to the widespread property damage, the company said in a release.
As far as a loss estimate from the sequel, we'll have to keep our eyes open while the airborne sharks wreak their havoc, which really shouldn't be a problem for residents in the City that Never Sleeps.
"As this Sharknado has not yet made landfall we have to wait ... to determine if the damage from 'Sharknado 2' meets our threshold for reporting estimated insured losses in New York," Mary Bohenek, a spokeswoman at AIR Worldwide, told Bankrate in an email ahead of the new movie's premiere.
The health insurance connection
Meanwhile, the "Sharknado" story also has a health insurance angle. Ian Ziering, the star of both films, tells Parade magazine that he agreed to make the first movie to secure union health insurance coverage for his kids. If the sequel and any consecutive films create as much buzz as the first one, maybe -- for Ziering -- ponying up any cash for insurance premiums will become an afterthought.
By the way, since we're on the subject of unusual perils, how's your Godzilla insurance?
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