As Space X puts us closer and closer to colonizing other planets, it’s natural to wonder if we’re truly prepared for all the dangers of space. Well, the home insurance world may be a little more prepared than you think. Insurance policies are created to help you in worst-case scenarios. But can your Atlanta home insurance or even your car insurance help you if you’re hit by space stuff like meteorites, asteroids, or falling satellites? Let’s find out.
Why should I be worried about asteroids, meteors, or meteorites right now?
First, it might help to break down what each of these terms mean. (And no – scientifically, they aren’t the exact same thing.) Let’s start big and go small.
Asteroids are huge chunks of rocks that orbit the sun, hence why we use the term “asteroid belt.”
A meteor is a piece of asteroid that breaks off and gets caught in Earth’s atmosphere.
A meteorite is a piece of a meteor that actually makes it through the atmosphere and crashes to Earth.
Many, many meteors make it to Earth’s atmosphere each year, but not a lot of meteorites are actually big enough to leave any kind of mark by themselves. One of the biggest things to worry about if a meteorite comes to Earth is not the impact of the rock itself, but the shockwave of it breaking apart in the atmosphere.
So, even if a meteorite actually hitting Earth is a rare happening, you may want to be a little more prepared for the danger that you can’t see in the shockwave.
Does my home insurance cover an asteroid, meteor, or meteorite hitting my house?
As odd as it sounds: More than likely, yes.
Normal home insurance policies could help you cover damages to your house caused by asteroids, meteors, meteorites, and all types of other space debris that physically hits your home. That’s because home insurance policies typically cover falling objects in general. However, you’ll want to check your specific policy for any specific scenarios in which they exclude falling object damage. It’s also important to note that your insurance probably won’t cover repairs to your home if it’s damaged by a meteorite crashing near your home. (More on that in a second.)
Usually, this type of coverage is used for falling trees. But you know, it’s nice to know that your home insurance can cover random space stuff too. It is your carrier’s job to expect the unexpected, after all.
Does my home insurance cover damage from the shockwave of an asteroid, meteor, or meteorite?
This is where things can get tricky. (As if a shockwave hitting your house isn’t a tricky enough situation.)
Damage to your home from the shockwave itself actually would NOT be covered by a typical HO-3 policy.
HO-3 policies are the most common type of homeowners’ insurance. But these plans mostly operate on a named perils basis for coverage, meaning that damages can only be covered if the policy specifically lists the event as a covered loss. These perils are typically:
- Smoke damage
- Damage due to the weight of ice/sleet/snow
- Windstorm damage
- Vehicle & aircraft damage
- Falling objects
- Volcanic eruption (yep, your homeowners’ insurance can cover you for the next Pompeii too.)
So, a meteorite directly striking your house could be covered under the “Falling object” peril. However, if all of your windows shattered because of the shockwave from an exploding meteorite, you’ll probably have to pay that bill on your own. Unfortunately, shockwaves are usually classified as a form of Earth movement, not a form of explosion, and is excluded from most homeowners’ insurance policies. (Yes, we checked.)
If you have an HO-5 policy, however, you could be covered for a meteorite shockwave if your policy doesn’t specifically exclude that event. HO-5 policies usually operate on a more open-perils basis, meaning that if a peril isn’t specifically listed as not covered, you could be covered for it! Nonetheless, you would still have to check with your carrier about how your insurance classifies meteorite shockwaves in particular since some HO-5 policies specifically exclude earth movement as well.
If we do end up colonizing other planets, the home insurance premiums to have meteorite coverage will probably be a lot more expensive. There’s a much higher risk of getting hit with meteors when you’re actually in space; so, insurance rates will probably go up because of the heightened risk. So, if you’re planning on living in a meteorite-prone area (or if you already live in one), you’ll want to talk to your agent about getting meteorite coverage sooner rather than later.
So, that’s the rundown on how your homeowners’ insurance might cover meteorites and other space debris. Like many other scenarios, your coverage will depend on your specific plan and your specific carrier. Therefore, it’s important to talk to your agent about any special concerns you have.
Whether you’re headed to space or keeping yourself Earth-bound, our experts can help you find great rates on Atlanta home insurance that fits your unique needs. So, make sure you’re not missing out on the best rates and coverage for you, and call us to start your free quotes, or just fill out our online form.