Acts of God and Athiests

A stormy night can leave a path of destruction and thousands of dollars worth of damage for individuals. Convinced that “acts of God” are not covered by insurance policies, some people worry that the cost of repairs to their own pockets. In many cases, their insurance will assist in the clean-up.

Short of sorting out when God acts and why, insurers define an act of God as a direct, violent, sudden and irresistible act of nature, such as could not have been foreseen or, if foreseen, its effect could not have been prevented. In short, an act of God is an inevitable event. The term has become a bit of a misnomer. Sure, rain, wind and hail are acts of God to the ayperson, but the insured needs to know them as perils.

Named or insured perils can include theft, riot, vandalism or glass breakage in a building that is normally occupied. Falling objects or impact by an aircraft or vehicle are generally included as well. Most people expect coverage for these events. What we have a tendency to forget or overlook, is that damage from fire, lightening, and wind is also insured. Under the named peril windstorm or hail, contents are covered only if the storm has first created an opening in the building.

A sudden release of smoke from a furnace is covered for instance, but not from fireplaces. An explosion of any kind is covered. Water escape from a plumbing, heating, sprinkler or air-conditioning system or domestic appliance is covered, as is the rupture or freezing of one of those items, but reasonable precautions are required.

Of course there are those who would like to believe that all unfortunate events are acts of God. They tell their insurers it was God’s will that their car collided with fire hydrant. Other theologically -challenged homeowners will claim God rusted the pipes, rotted the fence, or overstuffed the washing machine.

That said, there is still room for prevention and protection in the event of bad weather. Remember to batten down the hatches before a storm. If high winds are called for, secure the lawn furniture. Hail in the forecast? Put the car in the garage. And if a tornado warning is issued, protect yourself by moving into the basement or into an inner hallway away from windows.

Once the storm has passed, board up broken windows, cover leaky roofs and otherwise protect your home from further damage. Then call your insurance representative to report the losses.