Homeowners insurance blog

It Came from Outer Space! You’re Covered

Ever seen those 1950s and early 1960s alien invasion movies? The ones where Martians, giant plants, and big blobs of hungry jelly descend on earth and wreak havoc before being overcome by the air, sea water, or cold.

Most of us don’t fear alien invasions anymore. For one thing, there’s more than enough to fear from ourselves.

But there is the chance – albeit small – of a real threat from outer space that could present a problem for you, your family, and your home. Meteors. By some estimates, as much as 78,000 tons of materials fall on the Earth each year. Most of that is dust that presents no threat to anyone.

There is, however, the chance of larger meteors striking the planet. Earlier this year, it happened in Russia, injuring hundreds and causing an estimated $44 million in property damage. And in February, the world dodged a bullet – OK, a much-larger meteor – that would have caused widespread devastation.

Known as 2012 DA14, the 150-foot-wide object passed within 17,200 miles of Earth. Scientists estimate that had it struck the planet, it would have exploded with the force of a 2.4-megaton atomic bomb. By contrast, the bomb dropped on Hiroshima was .02 megatons.

So what if it happens?

Before you get too scared, the chances of massive meteors striking the planet are miniscule. But what would happen if your home is hit by a meteor or another object from space?

Relax. Your home insurance is in effect. Among the things typically covered by standard homeowners insurance policies are “falling objects,” including meteors (or meteorites, as they’re called when they enter the atmosphere). You’d also be covered if an aircraft hit the house.

The amount of coverage will be contingent on your policy limits. Ask your agent to help you review the policy if you’re unsure about it. You will have to pay your deductible.

As always, you should follow a process in filing a claim. Contact your agent immediately. Compile a list of everything that’s damaged, and take photos of it. Also take photos of any structural damage. Then you can make rudimentary repairs – for example, use plastic or something else water resistant to patch holes in windows, walls, or the roof to help stop further damage.

What about your car? It depends. If you have comprehensive coverage (and if you’re financing your vehicle, your lender almost surely requires it), you’re in good shape if the vehicle is hit by a meteor or helicopter. As with your home claim, you’ll still have to pay a deductible.

Some modern-day critics think those old movies failed because they had an easy solution to the alien invasions. But what’s so bad about simple answers? It’s nice to know that as far as space objects go, the simple act of having the correct insurance will keep you protected.