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While some issues can be prevented with careful planning, little can be done to avoid harm caused by acts of God. An “act of God” is a term that describes an unexpected event — typically an incident like an earthquake, flood, hurricane or tornado. Act of God car insurance may help provide protection against financial losses related to covered events that damage your vehicle.
What does an act of God include?
An act of God is a natural event that cannot always be predicted or prevented and occurs outside of human cause or control. The term can be found in some consumer contracts, such as extended warranties, discussing coverage eligibility in the case of natural disasters. It is a phrase you may also hear referenced in the insurance industry, though it may not appear as an “act of God” in your policy agreement. The phrase dates back to the 1500s from an English property-related court case and was further upheld in a 1944 Florida Supreme Court case with the same definition.
The religious connotation of the phrase has lent it to scrutiny, so many refer to these occurrences as acts of nature. When an act of nature happens, certain car insurance coverage types could pay for the damage caused by the act, or peril. The specific events covered may include:
- Lightning strikes
- Volcanic eruptions
Does car insurance cover acts of God?
Act of God insurance, or act of nature insurance, includes types of insurance that protect against these natural occurrences. Car insurance can cover acts of God, as long as you have the right coverage in place when the damage occurred. Insurance companies determine which coverage pays for a covered claim based on the initial cause of loss. For example, if heavy rains cause flooding and your car is damaged, your insurance company could help cover the repair or replacement costs if your policy has comprehensive coverage.
What is act of God insurance?
Act of God car insurance is most often provided under comprehensive coverage. Comprehensive coverage kicks in for more than just acts of nature, though. It also covers:
- Broken windows and windshields
- Hitting an animal
- Car theft
Comprehensive coverage is an optional coverage type and is often bundled with collision coverage. However, it can be purchased separately. When both coverage types are combined with liability insurance, this is what most people consider “full coverage.”
To make sure your car insurance policy offers the level of protection you desire, experts recommend speaking with a licensed insurance professional.
Frequently asked questions
The legal definition of an act of God varies. According to the Legal Information Institute at Cornell Law School, common law defines an act of God as “an overwhelming event caused exclusively by natural forces whose effects could not possibly be prevented.” The modern definition broadens to include “all natural phenomena whose effects could not be prevented by the exercise of reasonable care and foresight.”
A tree falling may be considered an act of God, but it depends on the reason it happened. If it fell for reasons beyond human control, like strong winds knocking it over, it may be considered an act of God. However, if your neighbor is cutting down a tree and it lands on your vehicle or property and causes damage, it would not be considered an act of God.
If your property has been impacted by an act of God, one of the best ways to prove it is to provide evidence of how the damage occurred. For example, if the damage to your vehicle was caused by debris that was picked up by high winds, you could provide information from weather forecasts and pictures of the damage that occurred. If possible, photos of the debris, whether from a splintered tree or something else, may also be helpful to prove the damages were caused by an act of God.