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Monday, November 15, 2010
What Is an Act Of God In Automobiles Insurance ?
Acts of God - Insurance Liability
Unforeseen events may be deemed "acts of God" by insurance companies.
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Insurance companies cover their bases by exempting themselves from paying for accidents, injuries, or losses for which no person in particular can be found at fault. The term "act of God" dates back to at least the 13th century, and originated in a more religious time period when the use of religious symbolism was not as contentious as it is today.
An act of God, in terms of insurance, refers to an event that was not caused by human error, aggression or planning, and could not have been foreseen or prevented. A tree falling on a parked car would be termed an act of God. A driver running a red light and hitting someone would not be termed an act of God, because the driver would be at fault. Gray areas of this terminology would include mechanical failure in a vehicle, which could be argued to be the result of human error or neglect, or could be argued to be random and unpreventable.
If an accident or injury is determined by an insurance company to have been an act of God, the insured party will not be covered, unless he or she has purchased extended coverage that addresses acts of God, or successfully appeals the insurance company's ruling.
Inability to have planned in advance or to have prevented an event is a key element in the determination of an event as an act of God. Damages that are the result of human error could clearly have been prevented by the human who made the error, while natural disasters are not preventable and often not foreseeable.
The term "act of God" does not indicate a religious component. In a secular era, use of the term "act of nature" would have the same meaning, and would perhaps be more broadly applicable and appropriate.
Some insurance companies will agree to cover an automobile owner for acts of God, requiring a higher premium charge for such coverage.