Every once in a while, we get questions that make us really stop and think.
Case in point- A customer called and asked, “if my house is damaged by an Act of God, do I still have to pay the deductible? I’ve heard that from several people.”
Great question……and we bet there are many others who have asked the same question. But before we answer the deductible question, it’s best to discuss Acts of God- including a basic Let’s start with a quick discussion about Acts of God first…..
What are Acts of God?
Basically, Acts of God are not man-made. Mother Nature gets the blame. Here’s a list of common Acts of God.
- Wind (includes hurricanes and tornados)
- Landslide or mudslide
- Fallen trees due to wind
Are Acts of God covered under my homeowners insurance?
Wind-related events as well as lightning strikes are covered by a basic Ohio homeowners insurance policy. Hail qualifies too.
Earthquakes and landslides are EXCLUDED from the basic policy. If you want coverage for these, then you must add coverage via an endorsement.
Flood is NOT covered on an Ohio homeowners insurance policy. You have to buy a separate flood policy.
Trees can be a little bit tricky, but if it falls onto an insured building, there is usually coverage for removal and repair of the damaged building. If it just falls into your yard and doesn’t damage anything, that’s a bit different. You can read a separate blog about insurance coverage for tree claims and debris removal for more details.
Are Acts of God subject to the policy deductible?
Yes. And it’s important to note that many homeowners insurance companies now include s SEPARATE deductible for wind/hail. So if you have a wind loss, you may pay a different deductible than if you have a fire loss. One quick way to see this (besides calling your agent)- look at your declarations page. Usually it will list wind/hail with the deductible and then show AOP with the deductible. AOP means all other perils (which are the cause of loss). Wind, lightning and the other Acts of God noted above are perils. Perils are the triggers for claims.
So you might see Wind/Hail- $1500 and AOP $1000. Any covered claim triggered by anything OTHER than wind or hail is subject to the $1000 deductible.
Do insurance companies actually mention of Acts of God in their homeowners insurance policies?
Out of curiosity, I reviewed some standard homeowners insurance policies from our various companies. Nowhere in those policies was Acts of God even mentioned. I even looked through some licensing textbooks. Nothing there either. No mention, no definition, nothing.
So it’s a good assumption that “Acts of God” has become one of those terms that’s popular in the insurance vocabulary.