In virtually every type of insurance policy – from homeowner’s insurance to life insurance – you will find some type of clause. Some types of clauses are common and well-known, such as a flood damage clause in a homeowner’s policy or a suicide clause in life insurance policy. Others, however, can be more difficult to determine, such as what exactly is covered by your automobile insurance.
Flood damage is not covered in most standard homeowner’s policies. According to an the website Nine MSN Finance, a typical policy will include wording not covering your home or property for flood damage. Floods are defined in insurance terminology as when water escapes its normal confines and covers a normally dry area. River and creek flooding would be a prime example. Flood damage differs from water and storm damage. For instance, if your property is damaged from a bad storm or a burst pipe, you would typically be covered; but you would be vulnerable if that same storm caused a creek nearby to rise over its banks, flooding your basement. If you live in an area vulnerable to flooding, you can purchase separate flood insurance.
Acts of War
Whether you have a homeowner’s policy, renter’s insurance, life insurance or auto insurance, you can most likely find a clause excluding coverage associated with war or violent uprisings. In insurance policies, acts of war include loss or damage from nuclear weapons, damage from risks of war such as invasions, civil war, revolution or rebellion, or any other type of military action. Many policies also have clauses ruling out claims from hijacking, extortion or kidnapping. Damages from rioting or civil unrest are also typically not covered, meaning if a window was broken in your house during a riot or some type of fight, you would not be covered.
Motor Vehicle Clauses
While most motor vehicle insurance policies are fairly straight-forward -- especially if you carry both comprehensive and collision insurance -- there are some clauses that can be confusing or complex. If you are driving a vehicle that you modified on your own, for example, and did not state the modifications on your insurance -- such as a car with a larger engine or a truck with oversized wheels -- you could fall under a clause that denies protection for such a vehicle. You can also run into issues if you are driving under the influence or if you have allowed an uninsured motorist to drive your care with your knowledge.
According to the website LegalMatch, an almost universal clause in life insurance policies is a suicide clause. Suicide clauses protect life insurance companies against deaths that have been deemed intentional by the person holding the policy. Such clauses are often overlooked and appear as a sentence or two in the body of the policy. In addition, what constitutes a suicide can be confusing. Not only does suicide include deaths that were caused in an “obvious” manner, but also deaths that occurred while carrying out acts of felony, such as committing armed robbery, or that happened conducting activities with a high probability of death, such as overdose of drugs or driving while heavily intoxicated.
- LegalMatch; Life Insurance Policy Suicide Clause Lawyers; Ken LaMance; June 2008
- Association of American Suicidology. "Facts and Statistics." Accessed Sept. 17, 2020.
- AARP Life Insurance Program. "Understanding the Two-Year Contestability Period for Life Insurance." Accessed Sept. 17, 2020.
- NAIC. "Denied and Resisted Life Insurance Claims: Recommended Changes to Schedule F," Page 3. Accessed Sept. 17, 2020.
- International Risk Management Institute, Inc. "Incontestable Clause." Accessed Sept. 17, 2020.
- American Safety Council. "The Suicide Provision." Accessed Sept. 17, 2020.
- NAIC. "Denied and Resisted Life Insurance Claims: Recommended Changes to Schedule F," Page 12. Accessed May 8, 2020.
John Zaphyr is a marketing and sales manager with the Oncology Nursing Society. He has written professionally since1999 and also has editing credits with Friedlander Publishing Group. His articles have appeared in the "Pittsburgh Tribune Review." John earned a master's degree in English education from the University of Pittsburgh.