Act of God

Insurance

What is

Act of God

Insurance?

What Is an Act of God?

An act of God describes an event outside of human control or activity, such as a natural disaster like a flood or an earthquake.

In business, the phrase “act of God” is not associated with any particular religion or belief system. Contractual language referring to acts of God are known as force majeure clauses, which are often used by insurance companies. These clauses typically limit or remove liability for injuries, damages, and losses caused by acts of God.

KEY TAKEAWAYS

  • An act of God is an uncontrollable event, such as tornadoes, floods, or tsunamis, not caused nor controlled by humans.
  • Insurance companies often limit or exclude coverage for acts of God.
  • Acts of God do not absolve people from a duty to exercise reasonable care.
  • Policyholders should review their policy for coverages and exclusions pertaining to acts of God.
  • In the U.S., flood insurance is offered by the National Flood Insurance Program, which is managed by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).

KEY TAKEAWAYS

  • An act of God is an uncontrollable event, such as tornadoes, floods, or tsunamis, not caused nor controlled by humans.
  • Insurance companies often limit or exclude coverage for acts of God.
  • Acts of God do not absolve people from a duty to exercise reasonable care.
  • Policyholders should review their policy for coverages and exclusions pertaining to acts of God.
  • In the U.S., flood insurance is offered by the National Flood Insurance Program, which is managed by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).

Understanding Acts of God

Events, such as floods, earthquakes, or natural catastrophes, trigger acts of God. These are events considered uncontrollable by human intervention. If contracts have force majeure clauses—meaning "superior force"—parties may not be liable if the terms of the contract cannot be carried out. It is important to carefully read how these clauses are written. Some clauses may specifically indicate events, such as a pandemic or flood, that fall under its guidelines. These clauses may also outline if they will offer a 50% or full refund, or any other form of restitution. What is considered an act of God varies across the country. When a contract includes catchall clauses, this may assist in broadening the scope as to which events qualify as acts of God. These clauses may include, "any other event beyond the reasonable control of a party.”


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  • Uninsured motorist coverage (UM) is an add-on coverage for auto policies that will pay for injuries and damages caused by an uninsured driver.
  • Hit-and-run drivers are also considered uninsured motorists.
  • Uninsured motorist coverage usually adds only a small cost to an auto insurance policy but provides beneficial coverage.

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