While flooding and earth movement (i.e. earthquakes) are in the news frequently for causing property damage and devastation, many are surprised to learn that the typical property insurance policy excludes those events from coverage. However, many uncommon hazards are actually covered such as meteors and volcanic eruptions to some extent.
1. Lightning damage
During a storm, lightning can strike both homes and businesses causing damage to your property by fire, to electrical and wiring, and to appliances. Although this type of damage is typically covered if caused by lightning, it is not covered if it is caused by a power surge. Keeping this in mind, it doesn’t hurt to purchase power surge protectors for your appliances and electronics to safeguard them from permanent harm.
2. “Falling Objects”
Standard insurance policies are often “open perils” policies which “insures against loss to covered property from all causes except those that are specifically excluded¹.” This means that the only perils you will not be covered from are those listed as exclusions. As such, meteorites, trees, space debris, airplane debris and any other falling objects from the sky would typically be covered.
3. Riots/civil commotion
Damage to your property due to explosion, fire and smoke that arose from riots or civil commotion (i.e. protest that became violent) is covered. However, standard insurance policies do not cover acts of war – this encompasses events such as a nuclear attack or from acts of terrorism.
4. Spoiled Food
Loss of power to your refrigerator/freezer due to direct covered property damage like a fire can cause the contents inside such as food and drinks to spoil. A deductible may come into play, meaning if you have $600 worth of food that was ruined and you have a $500 deductible your policy will only cover a loss of up to $500; leaving you with the decision as to whether or not it is worth it to file a claim. Limits and deductibles vary depending on the type of policy and insurer, so be sure to check your policy or ask your insurance agent.
Loss of power not connected to a direct loss to your property like a widespread power outage is not covered unless there is a special endorsement on your policy. Even in that case, coverage is very limited.
5. Volcanic Eruptions
In the U.S., unless you live in Hawaii or in the state of Washington, this may not be of interest to you however; standard insurance policies cover property damage due to lava or volcanic ash. What your insurance policy will not cover is the earth movement that occurs sometimes before an eruption that can also cause damages. To be covered for any damage from tremors or earthquakes causing a volcanic eruption, you would need a separate earthquake policy.