We’re all familiar with the phrase, “fire, flood, or act of God,” as a way of describing natural disasters.  It can be difficult to determine what actually constitutes an “act of God” for legal and insurance purposes.  Here’s a quick guide to help you determine whether or not your disaster may be considered an “act of God.”

What is an “Act of God?”

In layman’s terms, an “act of God” is usually understood to be a natural event—something humans have no fault in or control over.  Legally, an “act of God” is a term for a natural disaster that causes extensive damage and in which no human is at fault. Living in Florida, we’re all too familiar with “acts of God” because of the many hurricanes and tornadoes we often face.

How do Insurance Companies Define an “Act of God?”

While all insurance companies are different, many insurers follow similar criteria to determine whether or not an event is an “act of God.” Here are a few of the guidelines used by many insurance companies:

  • The disaster is impossible to avoid. Sudden, uncontrollable events, like earthquakes.

  • The disaster is a weather occurrence caused entirely by nature. Hurricanes and tornadoes are examples of natural weather patterns that often cause property damage.

  • The disaster is a large-scale event. From hurricanes and tornadoes to fires caused by lightning strikes, natural disasters affecting a large area or many people are usually considered “acts of God.” These events are unpredictable and unpreventable.

What Disasters do not Qualify as “Acts of God?”

While an “act of God” seems like a broad term that’s widely applicable, there are some disasters that don’t qualify.  Here are some reasons an event might not be considered an “act of God:”

  • The disaster is caused by human activity. Whether the event is directly or indirectly caused by humans, it cannot be considered an “act of God.”

  • Natural forces that don’t cause the disaster, like drilling disasters or earthquakes caused by geothermal injections.

What to do if You’re Affected by an “Act of God:”

We know how stressful it can be to begin the repair and rebuilding process after any disaster. The Florida disaster recovery experts at FLA-CAT can help you figure out the cause and we can help you restore your property. If your home is a victim of an occurrence that is an “act of God,” contact the disaster recovery experts at FLA-CAT by visiting our website.