Act Of God

Business, Legal & Accounting Glossary

Definition: Act Of God

Act Of God

Quick Summary of Act Of God

A reason for an insurance company not to pay your claim. An unpreventable and unpredictable event which could cause loss or damage to buildings, land, vehicles etc.

What is the dictionary definition of Act Of God?

Dictionary Definition

An extraordinary and unexpected natural event, such as a hurricane, tornado, earthquake or even the sudden death of a person. An act of God may be a defence against liability for injuries or damages. Under the law of contracts, an act of God often serves as a valid excuse if one of the parties to the contract is unable to fulfil his or her duties — for instance, completing a construction project on time.

n. A natural catastrophe which no one can prevent such as an earthquake, a tidal wave, a volcanic eruption, a hurricane or a tornado. Acts of God are significant for two reasons 1) for the havoc and damage they wreak, and 2) because often contracts state that “acts of God” are an excuse for delay or failure to fulfil a commitment or to complete a construction project. Many insurance policies exempt coverage for damage caused by acts of God, which is one time an insurance company gets religion. At times disputes arise as to whether a violent storm or other disaster was an act of God (and therefore exempt from a claim) or a foreseeable natural event. God knows the answer!

Full Definition of Act Of God

An event that directly and exclusively results from the occurrence of natural causes that could not have been prevented by the exercise of foresight or caution; an inevitable accident.

An Act of God is the legal way of describing a natural event that couldn’t reasonably be foreseen or prevented – earthquakes in areas with no history of same, exceptionally high tides, lightning, extreme storms, etc.

Courts have recognized various events as acts of God—tornadoes, earthquakes, death, extraordinarily high tides, violent winds, and floods. Many insurance policies for property damage exclude from their protection damage caused by acts of God. Often insurance policies exclude Acts of God as reasons for a valid claim, although this can be challenged in court.

Cite Term

To help you cite our definitions in your bibliography, here is the proper citation layout for the three major formatting styles, with all of the relevant information filled in.

Page URL
Modern Language Association (MLA):
Act Of God. Payroll & Accounting Heaven Ltd.
January 18, 2022
Chicago Manual of Style (CMS):
Act Of God. Payroll & Accounting Heaven Ltd. (accessed: January 18, 2022).
American Psychological Association (APA):
Act Of God. Retrieved January 18, 2022
, from website:

Definition Sources

Definitions for Act Of God are sourced/syndicated and enhanced from:

  • A Dictionary of Economics (Oxford Quick Reference)
  • Oxford Dictionary Of Accounting
  • Oxford Dictionary Of Business & Management

This glossary post was last updated: 8th October, 2021 | 3 Views.