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Am I Covered if an Asteroid Hits My House?

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Just recently, an estimated 100-metre-wide asteroid passed uncomfortably close to the earth. Some scientists have dubbed it a "city killer" asteroid, as the impact from such an object would hit with 30 times the energy as the nuclear bomb that was dropped on Hiroshima.

What's even scarier is the fact that astronomers didn't see the asteroid coming due to its particular orbit, and only identified the day before it passed the earth at one-fifth the distance of the moon. As you can imagine, if such an asteroid were to impact a populated area, the results would be absolutely devastating.

Fortunately, such large impacts are rare – with only a few known instances throughout recorded history. However, it is estimated that thousands of smaller meteorites fall to earth every year. Most meteorites burn up before hitting the surface or fall in oceans or other isolated areas. The chances of a meteorite hitting your home are extraordinarily slim.

But what if a meteorite did crash through your ceiling and land in your living room. Would home insurance cover the repairs?

A "perilous" situation

The short answer is yes, home insurance would cover a direct meteorite strike that damaged your home or its contents. However when it comes to insurance, the answer always lies in the fine print of your specific policy.

For example, if you have a comprehensive policy, also known as an all perils policy, then you are generally covered against anything that isn't specifically excluded. Most commonly excluded perils include things like flooding, acts of war, or a nuclear meltdown. As long as your policy doesn't specifically exclude damage from meteorites or asteroids, then you would be covered.

The other type of policy you may have is a named perils policy. This means that your insurance only covers perils that are specifically outlined. The good news is that most named perils include damage from falling objects, which would certainly include a meteorite in addition to things like plane parts or satellites.

You might be in for a shock

While your home insurance typically protects you against the peril of falling objects, that only applies if the meteorite hits your home directly.

However, if the recent asteroid that passed Earth had actually made impact somewhere on our planet it would have triggered an explosive shockwave capable of leveling homes in the immediate vicinity and causing additional damage miles away. Would insurance cover you in that scenario?

The answer is a little bit murkier, and it depends on a litany of factors.

In 2009, a 10-ton meteorite exploded over the city of Chelabinsk. The shockwave is estimated to have shattered one million square feet of glass in the vicinity, affecting some 3,000 homes and businesses. According to news reports after the incident, many homeowners who submitted claims were denied. Some insurers did approve claims related to "explosion" coverage.

Like falling objects, explosions are typically an insured peril. Whether damage caused by a shockwave from a meteor impact would be covered as an explosion would largely be up for interpretation by insurance companies and could depend on distance from the impact and the extent of the devastation.

For example, if a small meteorite hitting your neighbor's house caused your walls to shake and shattered a valuable work of art, you probably won't be able to make a claim on that. If a city-killer asteroid lands on your town and levels houses for miles around, that would likely be a different story. The reason it is hard to say for sure is because it has never happened and there is no comparable precedent for that type of peril.

While you are extremely unlikely to ever deal with the impact of meteorite strike, home insurance can protect you from other more commonplace perils as well. Find the best home insurance policy that protects you from life's unexpected events today.