Natural disaster insurance
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Natural disaster insurance

May 17, 2023
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While some problems can be avoided through careful planning, there is little that can be done to prevent damage caused by natural disasters. An "act of God" is a term that describes an unexpected event, usually an earthquake, flood, hurricane or tornado. Natural disaster auto insurance can help protect you from financial losses due to covered events that damage your vehicle.

What is a force majeure event?

A force majeure is a natural event that cannot always be predicted or avoided and that occurs beyond human cause or control. The term appears in some consumer contracts, such as extended warranties, which address the eligibility of coverage in the event of a natural disaster. It is a term that can also be heard in the insurance industry, although it does not appear as an "act of God" in the insurance contract. The term dates back to the 1500s and originates from an English court ruling on property. It was upheld in 1944 by the Florida Supreme Court in a ruling that used the same definition.

The religious connotation of the term has challenged it so that many refer to these events as acts of nature. When an act of nature occurs, some types of auto insurance can cover damages caused by the act or peril. Specific events covered can be

  • earthquakes
  • floods
  • hail
  • hurricanes
  • ice
  • Landslides
  • Lightning strikes
  • Mudslides
  • Landslides
  • Ice
  • Snow
  • Volcanic eruptions
  • Water
  • Forest fires
  • Windstorms

Does car insurance cover natural disasters?

Natural disaster insurance includes the types of insurance that protect against these natural events. Auto insurance can cover force majeure events, provided you have the appropriate coverage at the time of the claim. Insurance companies determine the coverage applicable to a covered loss based on the initial cause of the loss. For example, if heavy rains cause a flood and your car is damaged, your insurance company may help cover the cost of repair or replacement if your policy provides full coverage.

What is natural disaster insurance?

Disaster auto insurance is often provided as part of comprehensive coverage. It doesn't just cover natural disasters. It also covers

  • glass and windshield breakage
  • collision with an animal
  • theft of the car
  • vandalism.

Comprehensive coverage is an optional coverage that is often combined with collision coverage. However, it can be purchased separately. When both types of coverage are combined with liability coverage, this is what most people consider "comprehensive coverage."

To make sure your auto policy offers the level of protection you want, experts recommend consulting an insurance professional.

Frequently asked questions.

What is the legal definition of force majeure?

The legal definition of force majeure varies. According to the Legal Information Institute at Cornell Law School, common law defines force majeure as "a disruptive event caused solely by natural forces and whose effects cannot be avoided." The modern definition extends to "all natural phenomena whose effects cannot be avoided by the exercise of reasonable care and foresight."

Is the fall of a tree considered an act of God?

The fall of a tree can be considered an act of God, but it depends on why it happened. If the tree fell for reasons beyond man's control, such as a strong wind knocking it down, it may be considered an act of God. However, if your neighbor cuts down a tree and it falls on your car or property causing damage, it is not an act of God.

How can I prove that it is an act of God?

If your property has been affected by acts of God, one of the best ways to prove this is to provide evidence of how the damage occurred. For example, if your vehicle was damaged by debris kicked up by high winds, you can provide weather forecast information and photos of the damage. If possible, photos of the debris, whether it is a broken tree or other object, can also be helpful in proving that the damage was caused by force majeure.

Destiny Richardson
Written by
Destiny Richardson
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Destiny Richardson is a seasoned professional with 10+ years of global experience in the field of Investment Banking, Mergers and Acquisitions, and CFO. My area of expertise is Finance, Financial modelling, Fundraising, Investment Thesis, Mergers & Acquisitions, Market Research & Strategy work for startups as well as mid size companies. Destiny Richardson is a qualified Chartered Accountant (equivalent to CPA) and a graduate in commerce also hold Masters degree - MBA from leading universities in Asia / Europe. Due to my nature of work and love for travelling, I have been to more than 20+ countries.