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2/27/2013 - Hit by a meteor? Insurance covers that

An insurance expert noted falling objects, like meteors, are often covered in homeowners insurance policies.

It's not every day that a 55-foot, 10,000 ton meteor slams into one's place of business or residence, but in the rare instance that it does happen, odds are good that a homeowners or business owners policy will cover the damage.

"Your insurance covers falling objects," Robert Hartwig, president of the Insurance Information Institute, told financial news outlet CNNMoney recently.

He added that debris from space - or more commonly, sewage that's dropped by commercial airliners at the conclusion of a flight - counts as something that a standard property insurance policy covers, sparing many people from having to part with a significant amount of money in order to fix what's been broken.

Bill Wilson, vice president of education and research with the Independent Insurance Agents and Brokers of America, echoed Hartwig's sentiments in an email to The Philadelphia Inquirer: "Yes, most homeowners and commercial-property policies cover meteor strikes."

Read the fine print
Terry Tracy, who serves as an executive vice president for a Philadelphia-based insurer, said that the only caveat to this rule is if there is something in the policy that specifically excludes certain types of disasters, or "named perils." However, for the most part, these types of policies are provided for based on an "open perils" framework.

Space enthusiasts and individuals in general were no doubt shocked to hear that Russia was hit with a gigantic meteor in mid-February. The space object, that was roughly 17 meters in length according to the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, was half the size of a standard football field and had enough energy that experts say was 33 times the strength of a nuclear bomb.

Paul Chodas, head of the near-object program office at the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, noted that while debris falls from the atmosphere regularly, an event of this magnitude occurs once every 100 years or so.

In fact, 105 years ago, Russia was the recipient of a similar event. Near Siberia, the most significant meteor-related incident ever to be recorded occurred, when the object struck down and left an imprint in the earth that was 1,000 times the strength of the bombs dropped on Hiroshima during the second World War.

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