Published March 06, 2012
Asteroid 2012 DA14 -- a 150-foot-wide jagged hunk of rock hurtling through the blackness of space -- came within 1.5 million miles of the Earth on Feb. 16. Discovered in late February by astronomers in Spain, it will pass just 16,700 miles from our planet next year, according to NASA -- even closer than many geostationary communications satellites.
The small asteroid probably won't hit those satellites, though NASA is still looking to refine its understanding of DA14's orbit, spokesman D.C. Agile told FoxNews.com. But one thing is pretty clear: It won't hit us. NASA’s Near Earth Object program lists the probability that it will strike Earth as 1 in 77,000 -- a 99.9987 percent chance that it will miss.
That’s not good enough for some people, however. For them, there’s asteroid insurance.
Allstate Insurance’s ads warn you about “acts of mayhem” and urge you to get coverage from them. And indeed, the company’s standard policy has an “all peril” clause; since asteroid impacts don’t happen frequently enough to be noted on the exclusion list, you’d probably be covered if one hit your house, a sales agent told FoxNews.com.
Likewise, Lloyd's of London would cover you in case of an asteroid strike.
"Damage caused by asteroids would generally be covered by property insurance policies," a spokeswoman for the company told FoxNews.com.
Liberty Mutual’s homeowner’s insurance covers “falling objects” -- but a sales agent said asteroids wouldn’t qualify. Those are “acts of God,” and a standard policy wouldn’t cover it.
Lloyd's of London wrote an entire news release about asteroid impacts, predicated on end-of-the-world rumors surrounding the Mayan calendar.
“Insurers Lloyd's of London do sometimes have to consider out-of-this-world catastrophe exposures. The possible outcome of a large asteroid hitting an urban environment is one of them,” the company said.
Further calculation will be required to determine just how likely DA14 is to hit Earth, much less your home, NASA expert David Dunham told students at Moscow’s University of Electronics and Mathematics.
“The Earth’s gravitational field will alter the asteroid’s path significantly. Further scrupulous calculation is required to estimate the threat of collision,” Dunham said, according to RT online. “The asteroid may break into dozens of small pieces, or several large lumps may split from it and burn up in the atmosphere.”
Asteroids fall to Earth quite regularly, but they rarely strike homes.
So Srinivasan Nageswaran should consider himself lucky.
In 2007, an asteroid opened up a hole in the ceiling of his house in Freehold Township, N.J., denting the tiles in his bathroom.
“The fact that something from outer space hit our house ... it’s overwhelming,” Nageswaran told the Associated Press at the time.
It’s unclear whether insurance picked up the cost of repairs.