Wednesday, 28 September 2016

When Insurance and Outer Space Collide: The Messy Truth about Space Junk

You may have noticed the news lately about the out of control Chinese space station that is hurtling its way towards the Earth, and is projected to crash land in an unknown area sometime in 2017. Most of this 8.5-tonne module will be broken up and burned by our atmosphere. Even so, the Chinese space agency does admit that there are flame resistant pieces that could survive re-entry into Earth and hit terra firma. As more and more satellites, rockets, space stations, docking stations are launched into our Earth’s orbit, the more risk there is of these pieces making their way down to us on Earth.  That leaves us with the questions, what are our chances of being hit by space debris, and does our insurance cover the damages?


The Odds of Being Hit by Space Debris….are in your favour.

Currently there are thousands of satellites orbiting the Earth and millions of debris pieces from satellite collisions and explosions. While space debris pose more hazards to space stations and satellites than to all of us on Earth (chances of being hit by space debris is a trillion to one), if we don’t take care of our “space junk” problem, then these risks will just keep increasing.

For example, a seemingly harmless small piece of space junk that is 10 cm in size or less, will orbit at the speed of 17,500 MpH. At that speed, the piece's force will actually cause it to tear through a space station and cause serious damage. This same 10 cm piece poses no risk to us on Earth as it will be burned up by our atmosphere upon re-entry.

Nevertheless, events such as the not-too-long-ago Russian space craft’s out-of-control decent from space into the Pacific Ocean, and now the out-of-control pending re-entry of the Chinese space station, poses the question: what happens if it hits your home or property.

Insurance, the final frontier…

What a lot of people may not know, is that most insurance policies for home and auto (you must have comprehensive coverage on your car), will cover damage from falling and flying objects from airplanes to space crafts, to space debris. So if you come home one day, and find you have a hole in your house due to a rogue piece of space craft, don’t worry, call your insurance broker. After that, you can alert the media! The odds of your property being hit by space debris are much less than the odds of winning the lottery. 

If you want to insure your home and auto for all those "extra planetary" risks, then go ahead, give us a shout, and will beam you up a quote in no time! 1-877-218-2008


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