The last time we saw Godzilla, he destroyed the Golden Gate Bridge, flooded Honolulu with a tsunami, and caused a ton of property damage in downtown San Francisco. This weekend, he’s back in “Godzilla: King of the Monsters,” and judging from the trailers, Boston and Washington, D.C. are going to get pummeled — not just by Godzilla, but also by Mothra, Rodan, and King Ghidora.
A few weeks ago, I asked some experts how life insurance companies would handle Thanos’ snap in the “Avengers” franchise. This time, I wanted to know whether home insurance would cover damage by Godzilla or any of his fellow Titans.
“It would really depend on the type of home insurance policy,” says David Miller, VP Client Executive for Personal Lines at the Plexus Groupe. As we noted in our guide to home insurance policy types, the vast majority of American homeowners have an HO-3 policy, which covers your home for any “direct physical loss” that isn’t specifically excluded, but only covers the contents of your home if they’re damaged or destroyed by a predetermined list of perils. “So for damage to the home itself,” Miller says, “there’s very likely coverage for damage by Godzilla, probable coverage for Rodan and Ghidora, but highly questionable coverage for damage caused by Mothra.”
I asked him to elaborate.
Filing a Kaiju claim
“One of the common exclusions in a home insurance policy is for damage caused by birds, vermin, rodents, or insects,” he says. “Mothra is basically a giant insect, so I’m not real confident about coverage. Rodan and Ghidora are both winged creatures, but I don’t think they would be considered birds. According to dictionary.com, the definition of a bird is ‘a warm-blooded egg-laying vertebrate distinguished by the possession of feathers, wings, and a beak and (typically) by being able to fly.’ Neither of these creatures appears to have feathers, so they may not be birds by definition.”
What about vermin? “According to IRMI (The International Risk Management Institute), vermin are ‘small common animals that cause damage to property and are difficult to control. (e.g. mice and cockroaches).’ Rodan and Ghidora are both pretty big and not that common, so they’re not vermin, either,” Miller says.
And rodents? “The Merriam-Webster definition of rodent is ‘a gnawing mammal of an order that includes rats, mice, squirrels, hamsters, porcupines, and their relatives,’ Miller says. “Again, based on appearance, I would say that Rodan and Ghidora are not mammals. I watched the trailer for the 1956 movie ‘Rodan,’ and it doesn’t appear to cause damage by gnawing, either. It looks like fire, and its sheer size and weight are the primary sources of its destructive power. The trailer for the 1964 movie ‘Ghidorah, The Three Headed Monster’ also does not show evidence of gnawing behavior.”
However, even with the insect exclusion, Miller believes homeowners might be able to make a case for Mothra coverage. “Again, if we go to Merriam-Webster, the definition of insect is ‘a small arthropod animal that has six legs and generally one or two pairs of wings,’” he says. “Mothra definitely looks like an insect and even has the word moth in its name; however, the definition of insect includes the word small, and according to Kaiju Facts, Mothra is 197 feet long [with] a 820-foot wingspan and a weight of 22,000 tons. That’s about 37 feet longer than a B-52 bomber and quite a bit heavier, so Mothra is not small by any reasonable definition. If one of my client’s homes was destroyed by Mothra and the claim was denied because the adjuster called it ‘insect damage,’ I would probably push back pretty hard.”
Of course, Godzilla and his fellow kaiju aren’t the only reason cities are destroyed in “Godzilla: King of the Monsters.” In the trailers, I counted quite a few F-16s flying over Boston right alongside Godzilla. According to Stacey Giulianti at the Florida Peninsula Insurance Company, damage from human military weapons is a whole different ballgame.
“Damage from Godzilla himself would typically be covered. No relevant exclusion applies, similar to if a deer accidentally ran into your house and caused interior damage to cabinets and furniture,” he says. “However, a war — whether ‘declared or undeclared’ — against Godzilla and his nefarious cohorts is excluded, and damage by friendly forces during the battle to defeat Godzilla would not be covered.”
In other words, if a giant monster attacks your city, it’s the military response you should be worried about when it comes to filing a home insurance claim — not the monster itself. And isn’t that basically the message of most monster movies, from “King Kong” to “Cloverfield”?
- See our picks for the best home insurance companies and ask how they interpret the definitions of bird, vermin, and rodent.
- Save money by bundling your home insurance with your auto insurance at the same company.
- Members of Generation Z — like the human star of “Godzilla: King of the Monsters,” Millie Bobby Brown — are more likely to try digital insurance companies. Here’s everything you need to know.
Image credit: Lifestyle Pictures / Alamy Stock Photo