photo credit: Stefan Ringler

photo credit: Stefan Ringler

Although the phrase “act of God” is rarely used in home insurance policies these days, the concept still applies. Insurance liability for damage due to acts of God — natural phenomena and freak occurrences that cannot be prevented by foresight or caution — may be limited.

This is why it is important to check which perils are covered and which are excluded from your homeowners policy. In certain instances, you may purchase additional coverage for an excluded peril.

For example, it may be prudent to obtain additional flood insurance if you live in a flood-prone area where the likelihood of a loss due to a flood is high.

Common Act of God Exclusions

Hurricanes and Hail — Losses from a hurricane or severe wind or hail storm are often covered by insurance (except for losses associated with flooding), but there may be wind damage deductibles to mitigate the high risk from these catastrophic events.

Earthquakes — Damage from earthquakes is likely not covered, as earthquakes aren’t included in standard homeowners policies. If you live in an older home or in an area that’s susceptible to earthquake activity, you may want to opt for additional coverage.

Floods — Losses that result from water damage due to a flood or sewer backup are typically excluded. If you live in a floodplain where flooding is a possibility, you may be able to purchase separate flood insurance.

Sinkholes — Classified as part of the broader category of “earth movement,” sinkholes cause damage that’s not typically covered. (This includes those caused by old mines.) Some state laws require optional sinkhole coverage from insurers.