What Homeowners Should Know About ‘Acts of God’

So, what, exactly, is an “Act of God?” If you live in Florida, at some time in your life you can pretty much expect your life to be interrupted by an “Act of God,” or, more appropriately, an act of nature. Except for earthquakes that generally dominate the western part of the nation, we Floridians are subject to many other types of natural disasters, such as floods, tornadoes, heavy winds, hail and seasonal hurricanes. And, let’s face it. All year long, there’s always the threat of a lightning strike.

What is all the hype about lightning strikes? The National Severe Storms Laboratory attributes $4 billion to $5 billion in damages each year to lightning strikes. Here in Central Florida, lightning has left some costly devastation in its wake. Our oak trees have a very shallow root system and are easily toppled. A neighbor’s tree could crush your automobile or damage the roof of your house. Some lightning strikes have been strong enough to explode concrete. And, a direct hit on your house can cause a raging fire.

According to Kevin McDonald, principal at The McDonald Agency, an Ocala insurance and financial services firm, lightning is the most common cause of loss for all insurance property in this part of Florida. “We are the lightning capital of the world,” says McDonald. “You need to make sure you protect your property from lightning.”

So, What Precautions Can You Take Against Such “Acts of God?” Some insurance policies actually contain references to “Acts of God,” but not all do so. Damage from fires, lightning and hail may be covered, but damage due to earthquakes and flooding may not be. So, you need to know exactly what your policy covers.

McDonald cautions that even though a lightning claim is covered by your homeowners policy, you need to protect yourself from incurring a deductible cost. You can do that, he says, by making sure you have safely grounded your electronics, with the most susceptible items being sprinkler systems, garage door openers, and other electronics that don’t draw much power.

When considering “Acts of God,” here are 10 Questions you should ask your Florida insurance agent:

  • Which natural disasters are covered and which are not?
  • How much of my home or car and the contents are covered?
  • Does the policy contain guaranteed replacement cost?
  • Does the policy include flood insurance?
  • What are the specifics regarding lightning damage?
  • How much is my deductible?
  • What safety upgrades would reduce my premium?
  • What is the procedure for filing a claim? Is it 24-hour service?
  • Does my policy include hotels or car rentals, and for how long?
  • Does my policy specifically contain language referring to “Acts of God?”

The McDonald Agency Is Here for You

Homeowner’s and auto insurance can be complicated in Florida, mostly because of the threat from hurricanes, tropical storms, lightning strikes, flooding and wind damage. When you call The McDonald Agency you get the answers to these questions from knowledgeable agents who want to see you and your assets protected. Our office in The Villages is located at 11938 CR 101. Call for information: (352) 259-3825.

Note: This article was brought to you by The McDonald Agency.