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How Acts of God, or natural disasters, affect your home insurance

What is an Act of God and will your insurance cover one? Here’s all you need to know about natural disasters and your insurance.

What is an Act of God and will your insurance cover one? Here’s all you need to know about natural disasters and your insurance.

Written by
Anna McEntee
Insurance comparison expert
Reviewed by
Kate Hughes
Insurance expert
Last Updated
9 MARCH 2023
3 min read
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What is an Act of God? 

The phrase ‘Act of God’ refers to an event, such as a natural disaster, that’s considered no one’s fault and couldn’t have been avoided. We’re talking about events like:

  • Floods
  • Storms
  • Lightning strikes
  • Hurricanes
  • Tsunamis
  • Earthquakes
  • Volcanic eruptions. 

Act of God is the kind of action-movie phrase that sticks in the mind and people often search for it in the small print of their insurance policy. But you probably won’t find it as it’s not a term insurance providers normally use these days. Instead, your policy will set out what it does and doesn’t cover.

What isn’t an Act of God? 

Things not considered Acts of God are when damage is caused by a person or could reasonably have been foreseen, protected against or prevented.

For example, if someone tossing away a lit cigarette causes a fire at your home, it won’t be classed as an Act of God. This is because it was started by a person and could have been avoided.

Does home insurance cover Acts of God? 

There’s a common misconception that insurance providers include an Act of God clause in their policies to avoid paying claims. And while this was once common practice, times have changed. These days, insurance providers tend to be a lot clearer with their policy terms and will outline exactly what is and isn’t included.

If a natural disaster, like a fire, flood or storm damages your home, you may find you're covered by your home insurance. That said, your policy is likely to have exclusions and isn’t going to cover all unforeseen circumstances.

What your insurance provider will and won’t cover will be clearly outlined in the policy. As always, you’ll have to read the small print to be sure. Keep an eye out for sections relating to natural disasters in particular.

How can I protect my home against natural disasters? 

We know that climate change makes severe weather and natural disasters more likely to happen. So it’s probably time to get clued up.

Although your insurance may cover some natural disasters, it’s still a good idea to protect your home as much as possible so you won’t have to make a claim. Steps you can take include:

  • Securing or locking away loose objects like bikes, garden furniture and children’s toys so they don’t damage your property during a storm
  • Inspecting your roof for loose tiles or damaged chimney pots, and fixing any issues
  • Trimming back bushes or trees that could damage your windows in high winds
  • Securing weak fencing or gates.

It’s also important to protect your home from flooding, which is becoming more common in the UK.

Over five million properties in England are at risk from flooding. If your home is in a high-risk flood area, you might struggle to get cover, but the government-backed Flood Re scheme is designed to help you access affordable home insurance.

Frequently asked questions

Can I get Act of God home insurance?

That might sound pretty cool (as far as home insurance goes) but it doesn’t actually exist and, crucially, you shouldn’t need it. Your home insurance should protect you against fire, flood and storms.

Will my insurance provider pay out for natural disasters?

It depends on what your policy says. If lightning or some other freak weather occurrence damages your property, your insurance provider could cover your losses. But always check your policy to be sure.

Is my home covered for flooding?

Standard home insurance policies usually cover damage caused by floodwater. But if you live in a high-risk flood area, or your home has flooded in the past, you might have to pay a high excess (the amount you'll need to contribute towards any claim) or look for Flood Re cover.

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Anna McEntee - Insurance expert

Anna’s all about delivering fantastic insurance products at a great price. Value is the most important thing for Anna, as she cuts through the jargon and finds what’s most important and worth your hard-earned money.

Learn more about Anna

Kate Hughes - Insurance and finance expert

As an award-winning journalist, author and broadcast commentator, Kate has been writing about personal finance for more than 20 years. She’s the former Money Editor for The Independent. Her work has appeared across the UK broadsheets as well as a number of international titles. Kate brings her financial expertise to inform her readers on ways to save money. She’s also written a book. ‘Going Zero: One Family’s Journey to Zero Waste and a Greener Lifestyle’ is available now.

Learn more about Kate

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