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What Is an Act of God?

Margaret Minnicks has been an online writer for many years. She researches and shares remedies for using certain products for illnesses.

Acts of God

Acts of God

It is not unusual to hear people using the expression an act of God in different situations. Most of the time, it is used in reference to weather conditions. However, an act of God is debatable when it comes to what your insurance will cover.

In order to understand what an act of God is, one must be aware of the context of the expression. It is always in the context of what humans can and cannot control.

Act of God Definition

According to the dictionary, an act of God is something that causes an interruption by a natural cause. The interruption is something that could not be prevented by human efforts. Usually, an act of God is something that could not be predicted or prepared for in advance.

  • Cannot be prevented by humans
  • Cannot be predicted
  • Cannot be prepared for in advance

An act of God is just that. It is a natural disaster without the fault of any person.


Things Not Considered an Act of God

A fire is not an act of God. Why not?

A fire in your house is an accident that could have been prevented in several ways. The fire was caused by human efforts either by someone's carelessness or poor workmanship.

An act of God cannot be prevented by human efforts. A fire could have been prevented by human efforts unless it was caused by lightning which people have no control over.

Therefore, a fire to your house, car, or boat caused by lightning is an act of God.


Legally, an act of God is a natural hazard that is beyond human control for which people should not be held responsible. Examples include earthquakes, hurricanes, floods, tornadoes, or a tsunami.

When you purchase an insurance policy, make sure you know what is covered by an act of God.

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For Insurance Purposes

Make sure you know what your car, house, or boat insurance covers. Acts of God may be covered, but it depends on what your policy states. Many insurance policies don't cover damage caused by acts of God.

Most of the time, you will not see the actual phrases "act of God" or "a natural disaster" or "a natural catastrophe" written in your insurance policy. Keep in mind that anything that is not specifically stated is up for debate. In those cases, the insurance company has the last word.

If a person purchases property in an area where floods or earthquakes are common, the insurance company could argue the point that while the natural disaster was not preventable, the person's decision to move to the area did involve a human effort. The person might not get insurance on his property or he could end up being underinsured.

The bottom line is that what you consider an act of God and what your insurance company agrees to might be two different things.

House on Fire

House on Fire

Your insurance rates are based on the risk of a fire or a burst water pipe, or something happening to your roof. Those risks can be predicted because they are more common than a natural disaster.

Natural disasters are rare, unpredictable and not standard risks. That's why they are usually excluded from insurance policies.

Insurance Companies and Acts of God

When it comes to insurance policies, some companies can get very religious because the policy contains a clause which is designed for the purpose of protecting the insurance company rather than the insured.

The clause is stated to protect companies from having to pay out large sums of money or any money at all for what seems to clearly be an act of God, according to the insurer.

A miracle is an act of God unlike natural disasters.

A miracle is an act of God unlike natural disasters.

In Theology

Theologically speaking, an act of God is a divine intervention. It could be considered a miracle.

Just like an act of God does not involve the participation of humans during bad weather conditions, an act of God doesn't have human involvement during a miracle. Humans can't cause miracles, but God can and God does. That's why divine intervention is called an act of God.

In other words, an act of God in reference to a natural disaster is a bad thing while an act of God in reference to a miracle is a good thing.


What Exactly Constitutes An Act of God

Acts of God and Insurance Policies

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