What if your boat was attacked by a shark? What if your home becomes possessed by ghosts or demons? We all know that the movies are far-fetched and mostly fictional. There are some instances, however, where the story is based on historical facts. With it being Halloween week, we asked ourselves if some of these scenarios are viable. Taking scenarios from movies, we did a little digging to determine if the incident or damage would be covered under a homeowner's insurance policy. Of course you would have to refer to your own policy or independent agent to determine coverage in any of these circumstances. Here’s what we found:
Jaws (1975): Assuming that you have your boat insured on a watercraft or homeowners policy. If your boat was attacked by a shark and it consequently sank as a result, we would surmise that this would be covered and that your boat and its contents would be replaced - subject to your deductible. This is also assuming that you were not renting your boat to someone, or using the boat for “business” as is the case in the movie. This may be a good time to speak with your agent about life, health and disability insurance.
Amityville Horror (1979): If your home was overrun by flies, the cost to exterminate and remove the flies is not covered by homeowner’s insurance. The same goes for damage done by rats, squirrels, or other rodents. Insurance companies see these types of things as the homeowners' responsibility to maintain, and don't cover them in most cases.
Frankenstein (1931): Since the experiments were performed outside the home, in an abandoned watch tower, the damages done to the lab would not be subject to a homeowners policy. A P&C or businessowners policy would be needed to cover the "work". Knowing the resulting product – Frankenstein himself, there is a sure bet that there would be a product liability issue.
The Shining (1980): This home is actually an Inn, which would be insured under a businessowners policy. If the business owner were to break down his own door with an axe, this would be considered an intentional act by the named insured and not covered by the policy. If committed by someone other than an insured, it would be covered as vandalism and malicious mischief.
Poltergeist (1982): There are several damage issues in this film that would need to be addressed. First, if your home was intentionally or unintentionally built on an unmarked graveyard you would not have any coverage assistance for changing your location. Homeowner's policies do not cover land. Secondly, if a tree falls on your house due to Windstorm, Hail, Weight of Ice, Snow or Sleet - the damage would be covered up to stated limits in the policy. Third, if your home completely disappears into a vast void of nothingness, this would most likely be classified as "settling or shrinking" and therefore would not be covered under your homeowner's policy. The “mysterious disappearance” clause would not apply in this situation!
The Exorcist (1973): If someone slips and falls on your property, say for instance down a flight of stairs, the medical expenses, missed paychecks, pain and suffering would be covered under Premises Liability. Premise Liability covers the legal responsibility that property owners have for injuries that occur on their property due to slip and fall accidents.
Halloween (1978): In many cases, homeowners insurance will cover the cost to clean up after a trauma, homicide or accidental death. It is not the responsibility of Law Enforcement, Fire Rescue, EMS or Medical Examiners to clean up after an incident.
The Purge (2013): As stated above, clean up services are most likely covered, subject to your deductible. Side note: If you have a very expensive, or out-of-the ordinary, security system on your home, you should have this appraised and itemized on your homeowner's insurance policy.
Ghostbusters (1984): Any damage caused by a paranormal extermination service, such as green slim, should be covered by the exterminator's liability policy assuming the damage occurred as a result of the services that they performed. Additionally, any marshmallow fluff falling from the sky would be covered under "objects falling from the sky", and therefore clean-up for your home after a Stay-Puff Marshmallow Man explosion would be insured.
These again are unlikely scenarios dreamt up by the movie industry. We sincerely hope that none of this happens to anyone, and that you would never even have to research the topic. We are just a little poking fun at the movies.
Wisconsin residents, if you would like information about insuring your home, your boat, your business or your own little Ghostbusters, please contact a knowledgebroker and we'll be happy to help.