05 Aug What Is An Act of God?
While many disasters are preventable or even caused by humans or human error, unfortunately, some of the most devastating disasters occur completely outside of our control. These disastrous events that occur outside of human control are known as “force ma·jeure” also known as an “Act of God.”
Act of God: an instance of uncontrollable natural forces in operation (often used in insurance claims).
They result from a natural cause, occurring outside of human control, that couldn’t have been prevented by reasonable foresight or care. Common examples of an Act of God would be a hurricane, tornado, lightning storm, flood, or earthquake.
Are Acts of God Covered by my Homeowners Insurance?
Chances are, your homeowner’s insurance probably covers some acts of god and excludes others. Damages related to hurricanes, tornados, and lightning storms are often covered by insurance. However, flooding and earthquakes are covered by separate homeowners insurance policies.
For example, if winds from a hurricane do damage to your home, then you’d probably have coverage, but if you experienced a flood from a hurricane you would not be covered.
Are Fallen Trees an Act of God?
A fallen tree is an Act of God only if it fell for reasons outside of human control. If a tree from your yard fell onto your neighbors home as a result of high winds, that is an Act of God, because you couldn’t have controlled the winds from blowing onto the tree. However, if you cut down a tree in your yard and it fell onto your neighbors home, that’s not an Act of God, because you were in control of bringing down the tree.
What about old, dying, or leaning trees?
Reasonable care and foresight must be exercised to maintain your property. If you have a tree or limb of a tree on your property that could fall, you are responsible for maintaining or removing that tree in order to prevent it from causing damages.
If an otherwise healthy tree falls as a result of something like high winds, that’s an unforeseen event, an Act of God. However, if a dying tree falls, whether it’s during a windstorm or not, the tree should have been maintained or taken care of ahead of time to prevent it from causing those damages.
What about tree damage from floods or earthquakes?
Floods and earthquakes are Acts of God because there is no reasonable amount of prevention that could stop them from occurring. However, floods and earthquakes require separate insurance policies, because they aren’t covered by homeowners’ insurance. If a tree fell as a result of one of these events, it would only be covered if there was an existing flood or earthquake policy in place.
For example, let’s say a hurricane’s strong winds blow an otherwise healthy tree onto someone’s home. Because the wind caused the damage, it’s covered by homeowners’ insurance. However, if the hurricane had caused heavy flooding that uprooted or pushed over a tree, the coverage would only apply if there was a flood policy.
Do you have more questions about perils and tree damage? Check out these blogs, too!