It’s a Meteor! Is it Covered?

iStock_000008925250XSmallLast week, a meteor exploded over Russia, resulting in spectacular, widespread damage across a portion of the country. While this is an unusual occurrence, it’s not unheard of, which raises the question of whether such damage is covered by the home insurance policy. We previously discussed damages caused by aircraft and spacecraft, in the event they crash on your home. However, have you ever thought about what happens when space debris that is naturally occurring falls from the sky and damages your home or makes it temporarily uninhabitable? Well, believe it or not, there is most likely coverage on your policy!

The best way to determine if you have coverage for meteors and their resulting damage to your home is to review your policy. If you have a standard home insurance policy, you should be using what’s known as an “all-risk” policy. This means that the policy covers damage to your home caused by all the various possible risks or perils, except for those which are specifically excluded. This is a much better way to insure than older “named perils” policies that will only cover your home for damages caused by specified risks.

It’s probably unlikely that a named peril policy will name meteors as a covered peril. Most of those policies are fairly basic and cover standard perils such as wind and fire. Of course, because the old named peril policies formed the basis of newer, all-risk policies, only the standard excluded perils were considered. Therefore, it’s fairly unlikely that your all-risk policy will contain an exclusion for meteors!

In reviewing the standard home insurance policy, there doesn’t appear to be any exclusion that is even remotely close to damage from falling meteors or space debris. In fact, most of the exclusions on the policy are not for natural occurrences and are instead for manmade conditions that are not prevented by the homeowner. For example, water damage is usually covered, but water damage caused by plumbing or appliances that occurs over a period of time is excluded. This is one of the fundamentals of the policy, in which conditions that are created and then not remedied are going to be excluded. On the other hand, a sudden and unexpected burst of water (not caused by freezing, which could have been prevented) is covered. Therefore, the meteor debris hitting your house would not be excluded by your standard home insurance policy.

You might wonder why insurance companies don’t make more of the fact that they will protect you in the event of such damage. The reality is that the chances of such an incident occurring to you are fairly slim. As a result, the insurance companies aren’t really going to convince a lot of homeowners to buy policies just because they cover damage from meteors raining debris on our planet. Of course, now that you know such a claim would be covered, you might feel pretty good about your home insurance policy and the benefits that has for you —even if it’s a very rare possibility.

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