In the category where truth is stranger than fiction, news wire services reported in January of this year the account of a St. George, Utah couple whose home was struck by a boulder measuring 12 feet by 9 feet. The rock broke free from the cliff above Scot and Wanda Denhalter’s home at about 3:00 a.m. and crashed through the master bedroom wall while Wanda was sleeping alone in their bed.
Wanda was sleeping in the middle of their king size bed while Scot was sleeping at his son’s house to make room for visitors they were expecting. Wanda was badly injured by the large rock. The boulder struck Wanda’s leg causing a large gash that ran from her ankle to her knee. She required 3 layers of stitches to close the wound but would have been crushed had she been sleeping on her side of the bed.
Wanda Denhalter was incredibly fortunate to have survived the boulder that struck her and Scot’s home. There is an interesting home insurance question in this incident and that is, does your home insurance cover this? The short answer is in most cases, yes.
There are two ways a claims adjuster could qualify this incident.
- The rock struck the Denhalter’s home could be viewed as a “falling object” even though it fell from the cliff and rolled into the home.
- It could also be viewed as an object that struck the home similar to a driver losing control of their car and crashing into a house.
Most home policies fall into two categories; named perils policies or broad form policies. In the instance of a named peril policy, it would need to specifically state the policy covers the home in cases of a falling object or if it were struck by an object such as a vehicle or a boulder rolling into it. Broad form policies cover everything unless it’s specifically excluded. If you have a broad form policy, review the list of what’s excluded to determine if you’re covered should something strike your home.
Wanda’s injury would not be covered by the home insurance policy. While most home policies do have some level of medical coverage, this coverage does not extend to the home owner or persons living in the home. Medical coverage is only for people injured while visiting the home, invited or not. In the Denhalter’s case, their medical insurance would pay for Wanda’s injury. If Wanda had been injured by someone who’d crashed their car into the Denhalter’s home, then the driver’s car insurance would be responsible for providing medical coverage for Wanda’s gashed leg, as well as repairs to their home.
While most of us will never have to worry about a boulder striking our home, you’d be surprised at the number of instances where a vehicle may strike a home. Do you have a comment, question, or an experience you’d like to share with us? If so, please share it in the comments section of our blog or on our Facebook page. I’d love to hear from you!