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A peril is an event or circumstance that causes damage or loss. In insurance, perils are the specific risks or causes of loss covered by an insurance policy.

What is a Peril in Insurance?

In the context of insurance, a peril refers to the specific risks or events that might cause damage to property, injury, or other forms of loss. These are events that are covered by an insurance policy. For instance, fire, theft, and natural disasters like earthquakes or floods are common perils in many insurance policies.

Imagine you own a small business. One day, a storm hits, causing significant damage to your property. The storm is considered a peril. If you have insurance that covers storm damage, your insurance company will help pay for the repairs, up to the limit of your policy.

Insurance policies are designed to protect against various perils, and understanding which perils are covered is crucial for ensuring you have the right protection for your business.

Perils Graphic Insurance Glossary

Key Components of Peril

There are three key components to understanding perils in insurance:

  1. Covered Perils: Covered perils are the specific risks that an insurance policy will protect against. When you purchase an insurance policy, it will list the perils that are covered. For example, a typical business insurance policy might cover perils such as fire, theft, and vandalism.

  2. Excluded Perils: Excluded perils are risks that an insurance policy does not cover. These exclusions are clearly stated in the policy document. For example, many standard insurance policies exclude coverage for floods or earthquakes, which means if your business is damaged by a flood, the insurance won’t pay for the repairs unless you have specific flood insurance.

  3. Named vs. Open Perils:

    • Named Perils: These policies cover only the perils specifically listed in the policy. If a peril is not named, it is not covered.
    • Open Perils: These policies, also known as “all-risk” policies, cover all perils except those explicitly excluded. This means that unless the policy specifically says it does not cover a certain event, that event is covered.

Types of Perils Covered

Here are four common types of perils that business insurance policies might cover:

Natural Perils

These include natural disasters such as storms, earthquakes, floods, and hurricanes. It’s important to note that not all natural perils are covered in standard policies. For example, earthquake and flood insurance often require additional coverage.

Human Perils

These are risks caused by human actions. Examples include theft, vandalism, and arson. These are typically covered by business insurance policies to protect your property from intentional harm.

Accidental Perils

These perils include unintentional events such as accidental fires or spills. For instance, if a fire starts due to a malfunctioning piece of equipment, this would be considered an accidental peril.

Technological Perils

In our modern world, technological risks are increasingly important. These include risks like data breaches, cyber-attacks, and system failures. Many business insurance policies now offer specific coverage for these types of perils, recognizing the growing threat they pose to businesses.

How Insurance Covers Perils

Insurance coverage for perils works by providing financial protection against the specified risks listed in your policy. When a peril occurs, and it’s covered by your policy, you can file a claim with your insurance company. Here’s how the process typically works:

  1. Incident Occurs: A peril, such as a fire, damages your business property.

  2. File a Claim: You notify your insurance company about the incident and file a claim. This involves providing details about what happened, the extent of the damage, and any supporting documentation or evidence.

  3. Assessment: The insurance company assesses the claim. This might involve sending an adjuster to inspect the damage and verify the details of the incident.

  4. Approval and Payout: If the claim is approved, the insurance company will provide a payout based on the terms of your policy. This payout is used to cover the cost of repairs, replacements, or other losses incurred due to the peril.

  5. Deductible: It’s important to remember that most insurance policies include a deductible, which is the amount you need to pay out of pocket before the insurance coverage kicks in. For example, if you have a $1,000 deductible and the damage from a fire is $10,000, you would pay the first $1,000, and the insurance would cover the remaining $9,000.

Perils Photo Insurance Glossary