By Mercury Insurance Staff
2020 has been a rollercoaster of a year – from a global pandemic to UFOs – it’s safe to say no one predicted these crazy events. (Bonus: Those of you who had “firenado” on your 2020 bingo card were winners!) 2020 has left the feeling that you need to be prepared for pretty much anything. Thankfully, you can buy insurance for just about everything. There are the usual suspects, such as auto, homeowners, renters and business insurance, but that’s just the beginning. 2020 events have pushed the envelope in insurance needs to help keep you safe and sound.
Here are a few of the unpredictable events of 2020, and the ways that you can protect yourself, family and belongings:
COVID-19 has turned into a global pandemic with tens of millions of cases and hundreds of thousands of deaths. The resulting social and economic disruption has caused a global recession, the cancellation of sporting, religious, political and cultural events, and has affected 98.6% of the world’s student population by closing schools. Typical property insurance policies, such as business or homeowners, exclude pandemic events from coverage. However, an alternative risk practice company has developed PathogenRX, designed to provide business interruption insurance in the event of a pandemic. Unfortunately, it cannot be used during the current COVID-19 pandemic, but will protect your business in any future pandemics.
UFOs and Asteroids
This year, the Pentagon officially released three short videos showing “unidentified aerial phenomena” – while the potential that aliens will invade is fairly slim, there was an asteroid predicted to come close to Earth on November 2, right before the presidential election. Don’t worry, the closest it came to the planet was about 39,000 miles! If an asteroid or other space junk falls on your house or car, your homeowners or auto insurance policy should have you covered – and if you happen to get abducted, there are alien abduction insurance policies offered by select insurance providers around the country, though you’ll need to provide proof of abduction to file a claim.
Murder Hornets and Plagues of Cicadas
Things got a bit “buggy” in May 2020 – Asian giant hornets, menacingly dubbed “murder hornets,” made an appearance, and an emergence of cicadas buzzed around the Southeast United States after 17 years of incubating underground. A typical homeowners insurance policy doesn’t cover pest infestations but having guest medical protection coverage can help protect you against having to pay exorbitant medical bills should someone get stung on your property and require medical attention.
A towering column of flame was caught on camera in Northern California – formally called tornadic pyrocumulus, the “firenado” is an over-the-top weather event that has been recorded to peak at about the size of three football fields. Thankfully, most homeowners insurance policies include coverage for fire and wind damage, although some fire-prone areas of California may require additional wildfire insurance. Additionally, if a firenado forces you to evacuate your home, your insurance may cover additional living expenses to reimburse you for the cost of a hotel room to safely reside in until the danger has passed.
Derecho Hurricanes and “Gustnadoes”
A derecho hurricane is a dangerous, ferocious wall of wind, and one tore through 700 miles of the Midwest in August, flipping cars, downing trees, causing widespread property damage and knocking out power to hundreds of thousands. Wind damage can also be caused by a “gustnado,” a weather phenomenon resembling a tornado, but where the vortex swirls upward from the ground as opposed to being rooted in a cloud. Thankfully, both of these gusty phenomena should be covered by a standard homeowners insurance policy.
Earthquakes, oh my!
Southern California, one of the shakiest places on earth, experienced a magnitude 4.5 earthquake in 2020, rattling the region but thankfully causing no immediate reports of serious damages or injuries. Most home, renters and business insurance policies provide coverage for property loss, however, most policies do not cover damage resulting from landslides, mudflows or earthquakes. For earth movement perils, you’ll need a separate earthquake policy from the California Earthquake Authority.
Fingers crossed, most of the situations listed above are once-in-a-lifetime occurrences, but it always helps to have insurance to protect you in the event you need it. Talk to a local Mercury Insurance agent to make sure you have all the coverage you need for whatever the future may have in store.