D. Gilson is a writer and author of essays, poetry, and scholarship that explore the relationship between popular culture, literature, sexuality, and memoir. His latest book is Jesus Freak, with Will Stockton, part of Bloomsbury’s 33 1/3 Series. His other books include I Will Say This Exactly One Time and Crush. His first chapbook, Catch & Release, won the 2012 Robin Becker Prize from Seve...

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Jeffrey Johnson is a legal writer with a focus on personal injury. He has worked on personal injury and sovereign immunity litigation in addition to experience in family, estate, and criminal law. He earned a J.D. from the University of Baltimore and has worked in legal offices and non-profits in Maryland, Texas, and North Carolina. He has also earned an MFA in screenwriting from Chapman Univer...

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Reviewed by Jeffrey Johnson
Insurance Lawyer

UPDATED: Jan 18, 2021

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Irene left millions without power as it churned up the eastern seaboard.
Irene left millions without power as it churned up the eastern seaboard. (image by presstv.ir)

As those on the east coast of the United States seek to normalize their lives in the wake of Hurricane Irene, which cut power to millions and has been blamed for numerous deaths, some will be dealing with damage to their homes and automobiles. The largest insurer in the U.S., State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Co., is reporting that thousands of homeowners and auto claims have already been submitted.

The question many are asking right now is if damage to their automobiles related to Irene is covered by their car insurance policies. Weather-related damage such as damage from falling tree limbs, impacts from other kinds of flying debris or even water damage caused by flooding as hurricanes are apt to cause, will fall under the definition of acts of God.

Quite simply, acts of God refer to a natural disaster that cannot be foreseen or prevented by humans – events and occurrences that are completely out of human control.  This includes both big and small catastrophes, such as things like: earthquakes, hail, hurricanes, lightning, tornados, volcanic eruptions, and windstorms.

These types of events, just like all weather-related damages, are covered if a policyholder has comprehensive coverage on their automobile. Those with liability-only auto policies will find themselves out of luck, and responsible for their own repairs.