Within the world of insurance, an act of God is defined as one for which no individual person, company, or body can be legally held responsible. Instead, the blame is squarely placed upon God, an alleged supernatural entity whose existence remains unproven. Nevertheless, in the eyes of many insurance companies, God is undeniably real. Not only that, an attempt to make an insurance claim on something that can be considered an act of God might very well fail.
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Injury and damage
As far as insurance companies are concerned, the actions of God cannot be planned for, anticipated, or adequately prevented. Those same actions may result in personal injury, financial loss, or damage to buildings and possessions. It is in these situations that the insured person may encounter difficulties when trying to secure monetary compensation. The definition of what constitutes an act of God, from the perspective of insurance companies, is a broad and somewhat hazy one.
Hurricanes and floods
Typically, when it comes to how an act of God may be defined, natural disasters are top of the list. This might include hurricanes, lightning strikes, earthquakes, and floods. Despite widespread belief that most - if not all - UK insurance policies specifically contain an act of God get-out-clause for events such as those listed above, this is not the case. Policies will certainly list those kinds of natural disasters which are covered, and which are excluded. Such exclusions will not, however, be listed under a specific section titled "Acts of God".
In April 2010, huge dust clouds caused by volcanic eruptions in Iceland led to major flight cancellations across Europe. Many insurance companies turned down claims for monetary compensation. In theory, this entire situation, involving a volcano, could be perceived as what is known as an act of God. For insurance companies, however, the actual, and legal, reason for denying the claims was simple. The people whose claims were denied had not take out insurance against a volcanic event affecting their travel plans.
Playing the negligence card
When disputing a denied claim on an event that may be perceived as an act of God, there is an important factor to keep in mind. It's one that may help the insured person win his or her case: the location. Specific parts of the world are prone to regular, violent weather, including hurricanes, floods, volcanoes and earthquakes. The result: such weather certainly can be anticipated, planned for, and even expected. If your home was seriously damaged in a location already known for its extremes of weather, an argument can be made that the builder of the property was at fault for not taking extra steps to protect it during construction. Thus, a denied and unforeseen act of God now becomes a case focused on negligence. Insurance companies are far more likely to pay out on a negligence suit than one based around allegedly unanticipated weather.
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