Extraordinary natural disasters can ravage entire neighborhoods, cities or states. These “Acts of God” can lead to many Texas homeowners insurance claims. But does my Texas homeowners insurance cover Acts of God?
You purchase your homeowners insurance in order to protect your property and contents against a myriad of catastrophes. When a disaster strikes you hope to make a claim in order to help you manage financially. Your homeowners insurance gives you peace of mind.
The concept of insurance claims with respect to “Acts of God” goes back centuries to the development of Christian European law. The original concept would include anything that was a mystery to man (i.e. weather and diseases). In 1785, Lord Mansfield in Forward v Pittard articulated the following:
“Now what is the act of God. I consider it to mean something in opposition to the act of man: for every thing is the act of God that happens by His permission; ….”
Originally, Acts of God included anything that man did not understand or did not cause. This concept can be elaborated by two simply facts: 1. You can’t sue God and 2. You can’t plan for what you don’t understand.
Can atheists make claims for super natural events because they don’t believe in God? During the French Revolution, the Code Napoleon sought to free itself from Catholic Law and used the Latin term of “Force Majeure” instead of “Acts of God.” The Russian Communists used the term “Superior Force.” The concept of some “extraordinary” event was established and is now represented by any of these interchangeable terms.
Today, Acts of God include both natural and man-made disasters, such as tornadoes, plagues and war. Your Texas homeowners insurance is likely to be governed by the 1876 United States Supreme Court decision of Nugent v. Smith, which defined Acts of God as “[n]atural causes directly and exclusively without human intervention and that could not have been prevented by any amount of foresight and pains and care reasonably to have been expected”. Homeowners insurance can’t cover what it can’t prevent.
A reasonable follow-up question would be the following – “Can homeowners prevent burglary, car accidents or fires?” No. But homeowners can purchase security systems to prevent burglary and smoke alarms to prevent fires from spreading. Furthermore, many Texas homeowners insurance companies will reward you for adding these home safeguards.
While insurance companies cannot predict “when” any of those covered damages will occur to you per se, they do know when they will occur in a normal population group for a given year. Click to read more. Man cannot prevent a tornado from destroying his home.
The good news is that you can probably add specific policies for any disaster concerns you might have. There are add-on homeowners insurance policies for earthquake, flood, hurricane and riots. If your area is particularly prone to these hazards, this may be wise. Perhaps, the only thing that can prevent Acts of God is prayer.