Acts of terrorism are not covered under a policy’s acts of war exclusion.

911Acts of terrorism – thank goodness they’re not something you deal with every day.  However, while such events are rare, their occurrence can be completely random and their results catastrophic. In the wake of terror attacks 14 years ago today, some providers have begun to change the way they approach terrorism coverage in their policies.  Even though such scenarios are not likely to be one of your primary concerns on a day-to-day basis, it is always important to understand what your policy covers – just in case.

Looking at Your Policy’s Fine Print

There are some standard exclusions to the coverage offered by a typical homeowners’ policy. Along with certain natural disasters such as earthquakes and floods, your homeowners’ policies will not cover acts of war or nuclear releases.  If you are in an area prone to certain natural disasters you have the option to purchase additional coverage to protect against these events. However, additional coverage for acts of war and nuclear incidences are not typically offered since cost fails to adequately measure up to the risk.

With the increased attention put on terrorism each year, you may be wondering if your current homeowners’ policy, with its coverage exclusions for war and nuclear release, will cover you in the event you fall victim to terrorist activity. Some providers have begun to directly address terrorism in their policies while others have not, leaving some policy holders confused on where they stand. The most important thing to do is review your individual policy to determine exactly what type of coverage you can rely on. Keep these things in mind while reviewing your policy.

In the exclusion section of your homeowner’s policy it will state that you are not covered against war or acts of war. As commonly defined in the industry, the characteristics of an act of war and an act of terrorism differ to the extent that exclusions for war do not cover terrorism.

If your policy remains silent you likely have coverage. After recent events, some insurance providers have begun to place terrorism exclusions on personal lines of coverage.  However, if your policy does not clearly state that it does not cover acts of terrorism, then there is a good chance that the damage caused by any such attack will be treated no differently than any other claim. If this is the case, check with Scrivens to make sure that your policy’s silence on the matter does in fact imply coverage.

Beyond Insurance

The risk for the average Canadian to be directly affected by a terrorist attack or other catastrophic event is quite low. However, if they do occur, anyone could potentially be affected.  It is important that you and your loved ones are prepared for such a situation and that means more than just having the proper insurance coverage. To prepare yourself:

  • Put together an emergency supply kit. Include: a 3-day supply of bottled water and non-perishable food, flashlight, first aid kit, battery-powered or hand-crank radio, local maps, dust masks and any other items you deem necessary to your own situation (ie. medication).
  • Develop an emergency plan. Your family may not be together when disaster strikes. Make sure you all know how you will regain contact with each other. Take into account that communications could be disrupted while figuring out your plan.

For more information on how to prepare your family for an emergency situation, contact us at Scrivens.


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