Does auto insurance cover “Acts of God”?

Comprehensive auto insurance covers natural disasters, but your policy may have specific exclusions. $11.57/mo is the average rate for comprehensive coverage in the US.

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Mathew B. Sims is Editor-in-Chief and has authored, edited, and contributed to several books. He has been working in the insurance industry ensuring content is accurate for consumers who are searching for the best policies and rates. He has also been featured on sites like UpJourney.

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Dan Walker graduated with a BS in Administrative Management in 2005 and has been working in his family’s insurance agency, FCI Agency, for 15 years (BBB A+). He is licensed as an agent to write property and casualty insurance, including home, auto, umbrella, and dwelling fire insurance. He’s also been featured on sites like Reviews.com and Safeco. He reviews content, ensuring that ex...

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Reviewed by Daniel Walker
Licensed Auto Insurance Agent

UPDATED: Apr 22, 2020

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Things to remember...

  • Acts of God may be a covered peril on your auto insurance, though it’s often not listed “acts of God” on your policy
  • These perils can occur regardless of the mitigating steps you have taken; catastrophic events are an example of these perils
  • When you experience a peril that may be considered an “act of God,” your auto insurance may help you recover from this loss
  • Living in an area prone to catastrophic losses or natural disasters may mean you need additional coverage in place to protect your vehicle
  • Any peril not listed in your policy can lead to debates about if coverage applies; remember that debates of this nature often favor the insurance provider

Your car insurance is created to help you recover from losses above and beyond standard wear-and-tear or maintenance losses.

An “act of God” can be a difficult peril to recover from, and can include:

If you have purchased the correct coverage and your policy does not exclude these losses, then an “act of God” is often covered.

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Defining an “Act of God”

Your auto insurance may protect you from “acts of God” even though this terminology will not appear written in your policy language.

This terminology, however, is a commonly understood concept in the insurance industry, meaning losses that you cannot prevent through reasonable mitigation steps; catastrophic events are a common example.

There are many catastrophic and natural disasters that can be classified as an “act of God,” including:

  • Flooding
  • Wildfires
  • Tornadoes
  • Hurricanes
  • Hail Storms
  • Lightning Strikes

Each of these losses is often considered a random or chance event, meaning human intervention is not required to cause the loss nor can human intervention completely prevent the loss.

While these losses are commonly anticipated losses in the insurance industry, “act of God” will often not appear in your policy.

You should verify that these perils are covered under your policy by reading through your terms and conditions as well as speaking to your insurance provider.

Remember that “acts of God” are often difficult to plan and prepare for, which means you may need to mitigate the loss once it occurs to minimize your damages.

Your insurance provider may offer guidelines on how to mitigate your losses, but these steps should only be undertaken if the disaster has passed and it’s safe to proceed.

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Enter your ZIP code below to view companies that have cheap auto insurance rates.

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“Acts of God” and Your Insurance

Covering losses that are considered an “act of God” requires two key points:

  • The proper auto insurance coverage for the peril
  • Policy language not specifically excluding the peril

Covering an “act of God” often requires carrying comprehensive coverage, which is a physical damage coverage that helps recover from losses not caused by a collision.

This policy coverage protects from theft, vandalism, animal-related damaged, and weather-related damages; “acts of God” would fall under this coverage.

Carrying comprehensive coverage is not a state or federal requirement, which means you need to choose to purchase this coverage before a loss occurs.

You can get quotes for this coverage when you’re looking for coverage, or you can add it at a later time; remember that coverage often needs to be in place before a loss occurs.

When you purchase this coverage, make sure to understand what your policy language excludes and what perils you may be handling alone.

“Act of God” is not often listed as a covered loss, but natural disasters may be called out specifically. If you have questions about coverage, speak to your insurance provider about your policy language before making your decision.

Important Facts about These Losses

Car insurance combines different coverage options, conditions, terms, and exclusions to form a legal contract between you and your provider. There are some important things to remember about your policy when any loss occurs, not just an “act of God.”

When it comes to losses covered by physical damage coverage, such as comprehensive or collision coverage, there may be an insurance deductible for your claim.

The deductible is an amount of any covered loss that you are responsible for covering; this reduces the financial strain on your provider.

Additionally, an “act of God” is often a catastrophic event or natural disaster, which means can affect many policyholders at a time. When these losses occur, you may have specific claim filing instructions or requirements to handle your claim.

When an “act of God” occurs, make sure to contact your provider as soon as possible. While filing the claim may not be practical at the time, notifying your provider can offer benefits.

They may offer suggestions on mitigating further losses as well as providing guidance on how the claim process will work.

Remember that failing to notify your provider of a claim within a reasonable amount of time may cause your loss to be denied. Your insurance provider may have claim reporting time frames, so be sure to confirm this when you purchase your coverage.

Understanding Your Current Coverage

An “act of God” is any peril that can be considered catastrophic or outside man’s control, and these situations can occur without much notice or time to prepare.

Before assuming your policy covers you in these instances, take some time to read your policy and speak to your provider.

Each provider looks at these perils through a different perspective, meaning some providers will cover these by default and others may require additional coverage.

It’s important to shop around for insurance quotes from multiple providers, comparing the coverage options to choose the best policy for your needs. Compare quotes right now by entering your zip code below!

If a potential loss does not fall under your policy coverage, you may need to look at additional coverage options offered through your provider.

Speak to your provider to get assistance understanding your risk exposure and what policy coverage you may need to offset these risks.

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