The Jersey Shore has more to deal with than just hurricanes and blizzards. On January 28, many residents in New Jersey, New York, and Connecticut called 911 reporting an earthquake, only to learn that a naval aircraft testing over the Atlantic Ocean broke the sound barrier, causing a sonic boom.
That got me thinking: Is property damage due to a sonic boom covered under the average all risk policy of insurance? It appears so.
As the event feels like an earthquake, the definitions section in your policy will be useful in determining whether the earth-movement exception would apply. Typical policy language defines an earthquake as a shaking or trembling of the earth that is geologic or tectonic in nature; includes shock waves or tremors before, during or after a volcanic eruption; and can also include after-shocks that occur within a seventy-two hour period following and earthquake.
Next, because the sonic boom was created during an aircraft test, do the definitions of ‘aircraft liability’ attach? Liability for property damage as the result of an aircraft arise out of the:
- Ownership of the craft by an insured;
- Maintenance, occupancy, operation, use, loading or unloading of such craft by any person;
- Entrustment of such craft by an insured to any person;
- Failure to supervise or negligently supervise any person involving such craft; or
- Vicarious liability, whether or not imposed by law, for the actions of a child or minor involving such craft.
If your home or business sustained property damage as the result of what you come to find out was a sonic boom, always begin by reading your policy in order to identify specific exceptions to coverage.