What Are “Acts of God” When It Comes to Car Insurance?

Acts of God auto insurance is another term for comprehensive coverage. Acts of God might include hailstorms, hurricanes, tornadoes, and more, and damage from these events should be covered by a comprehensive car insurance policy.

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Rachel Bodine graduated from college with a BA in English. She has since worked as a Feature Writer in the insurance industry and gained a deep knowledge of state and countrywide insurance laws and rates. Her research and writing focus on helping readers understand their insurance coverage and how to find savings. Her expert advice on insurance has been featured on sites like PhotoEnforced, All...

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Written by Rachel Bodine
Insurance Feature Writer Rachel Bodine

Leslie Kasperowicz holds a BA in Social Sciences from the University of Winnipeg. She spent several years as a Farmers Insurance CSR, gaining a solid understanding of insurance products including home, life, auto, and commercial and working directly with insurance customers to understand their needs. She has since used that knowledge in her more than ten years as a writer, largely in the insurance...

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Reviewed by Leslie Kasperowicz
Farmers CSR for 4 Years Leslie Kasperowicz

UPDATED: Apr 22, 2022

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The insurance industry uses the term “acts of God” to refer to certain incidents. A hurricane or erupting volcano may be considered an act of God, for example.

Most insurers cover natural disasters and other “acts of God” according to the terms in your insurance policy. Car insurance acts of God coverage is called comprehensive coverage. If your comprehensive policy covers hailstorm damage, for example, and you are a victim of a hailstorm labeled an “act of God,” then you should be covered.

However, not all acts of God are covered by all policies. Today, we’re explaining everything you need to know about acts of God and car insurance.

What is an act of God?

Generally, an insurer uses the term “act of God” to refer to any natural disaster that cannot be foreseen or prevented by humans. Things like all of the following may be considered acts of God:

  • Hurricanes
  • Floods
  • Hail
  • Tsunamis
  • Wildfires
  • Earthquakes
  • Tornadoes

If a fierce summer thunderstorm causes a big tree in your front yard to topple onto your car parked out front, for example, then this may be considered an act of God.

In addition, many insurers consider other natural events to be acts of God. It might be considered an act of God when you hit a deer or bear on the road, for example, or if a bird hits your windshield and cracks it.

Typically, insurable incidents fall into two categories: they’re either considered acts of God or acts of negligence. If a neighbor is chopping down a tree and it falls onto your vehicle, for example, then this is an act of negligence. If a windstorm knocks down that same tree, then it’s an act of God. Determining whether it was an act of God or an act of negligence can have an important impact on your claim moving forward.

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How can you protect yourself against acts of God?

Typically, a comprehensive car coverage policy will protect against acts of God. However, ordinary liability and collision coverage will rarely protect against acts of God.

If you live in an area prone to acts of God, then it may be in your best interest to buy comprehensive car insurance coverage. Those who live in Tornado Alley, for example, may want to purchase comprehensive coverage to protect themselves against storm damage.

Like most car insurance policies, it comes down to risk aversion and how much you can afford to pay. Can you afford to replace or repair your car out of pocket if a catastrophe occurs?

You should also think twice about adding comprehensive coverage to an older vehicle. The maximum amount your car insurer will pay you for your vehicle is the replacement value of your car. If your car is crushed by a tree during a windstorm, for example, and it’s only worth $2500 on the open market, then the car insurance company will send you a check for $2500. In this case, it may not be worth it to add comprehensive car insurance.

Adding comprehensive car insurance doesn’t immediately guarantee that you will be covered against all acts of God. Some insurance companies will provide full coverage against all acts of God, while other insurance companies will not.

Is it possible that your car insurance may not cover all acts of God?

So you have comprehensive coverage. Your car should be protected against a comprehensive range of situations. However, comprehensive coverage may not cover all acts of God.

Typically, your car insurance policy will list the specific acts of God covered in your car insurance policy. A policy may cover tornadoes, and hurricanes, and lightning storms, for example, but not floods.

Check your car insurance policy to ensure you’re covered against acts of God in your area. Some car insurance companies will try to sneak in provisions against certain types of acts of God. If you live in a hurricane-prone or flood-damage-prone area, for example, then your car insurance policy might have specific provisions against these acts of God.

Generally, act of God car insurance through your comprehensive policy should provide coverage against all types of these incidents that aren’t preventable with reasonable foresight. However, it’s a good idea to check your car insurance policy’s official paperwork to make sure.

It’s also important to note that car insurance companies will search for negligence wherever possible prior to paying out an insurance claim based on an act of God. If the damage was caused by the negligence of someone else and not an act of God, for example, then the car insurance company might try to find the negligent individual and hold that person accountable. If your neighbor left an unsafe tree on his property for 5 years, for example, and that tree blew over in a windstorm and damaged your vehicle, then the neighbor may be negligent.

What’s our conclusion?

It’s easy to forget about acts of God when shopping for a standard policy. However, of God coverage can have a crucial impact on car insurance prices. Some car insurance options comprehensively cover all acts of God, while other car insurance policies do not.

Generally, a comprehensive car insurance policy will cover unexpected events and uncontrollable events – including striking an animal, getting damaged in a windstorm, or getting hit by hail. However, it’s a good idea to check your car insurance policy to make sure acts of God or catastrophic events are covered.

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