The recent wildfire outbreak in Colorado’s Waldo Canyon region has reminded homeowners in the area of just how important it is to ensure that they have the right insurance in place to cover themselves in the event of their home burning down. With 20,000 residences and over 160 commercial buildings currently being threatened by the wildfire, the fire may become the worst Colorado has seen to date.
When wildfires occur, however, many people forget about other assets that can be lost in the event of a fire – such as their car. With over 32,000 residents having been evacuated from the area, there’s a good chance than several of them took their cars with them when they left. But there are also many other car owners who have had to leave their cars behind, such as multiple vehicle owners. One homeowner lost a ten-stall garage which held a fleet of classic vehicles in California’s 2007 Rice Canyon Fire. His home insurance didn’t cover most of the vehicles, putting him at a great financial loss.
If you ever hear the words “act of God” and “car insurance” in the same sentence, you should know now that there is merit to them being used together.
Should your car suffer damage at the hands of the forces of nature, this is when the term “acts of God” come into play. Thunderstorms that cause tree branches to fall on your car, hail from excessive storms, lightning, and floods are just some of the types of damage categorized this way. These acts are oftentimes some of the most expensive in the way of car insurance.
When an insurance company used the term “act of God”, it is describing those elements beyond our control. An “act of God” occurrence is also referred to as an act of nature because nature is at fault for the damage. Other acts of God include hurricanes and earthquakes.
For those with full coverage insurance on their car, you are more than likely insured against all types of Mother’s Nature’s wrath. Most likely, you have insurance that covers all types of natural catastrophes and you’re protected under comprehensive coverage.
If you don’t have this type of coverage, you may be in for a serious dent in your pocketbook. On the plus side, one of comprehensive coverage is very affordable, and some insurers will even let you carry comprehensive coverage without collision coverage, which is actually the more expensive coverage between the two. When you carry ‘full coverage,’ the bulk of the premium you’re paying is going to collision coverage. You’ll have to check with your insurer to see if they’ll allow you to carry comprehensive and not collision.
One of the disadvantages is that lack of liability can result in a false “act of God” claim for people that want to blame elements of nature for their own actual mishaps. For example, colliding with someone during a snowstorm is not categorized as an “act of God.” The reasoning for this is that the individual behind the wheel elected to be there and no insurance company would pay for something that is clearly the driver’s decision.
Yes, the snow is an act of God, and more often than not, if you were driving down the highway and a tree branch, loaded down by snow, fell onto your car causing damage, that would be an act of God covered. Thus, the actual damage must directly result from an act of God—it can’t be something that happened to happen because an act of God occurred.
While the loss of any major asset can be crippling, it doesn’t have to leave car owners at a large financial loss. Remember that homeowner’s insurance will likely not cover your automobiles, even if the fire that started in your home wasn’t caused by your car. Take some time to review your current auto insurance policy and make sure that you have fire and theft coverage to protect one of your most valuable assets – your car.