Tag Archives: Vacant Property Coverage

Arson of Vacant House: Covered Fire Loss or Excluded Vandalism?

In a recent case,1 a federal appeals court addressed the issue of whether fire damage to a vacant dwelling from an arsonist was considered distinct from vandalism, so as to not implicate an exclusion within a homeowners insurance policy. In that case, Wells Fargo Bank owned an insurance policy on an abandoned house that an … Continue Reading

The Standard Fire Policy 60-Day Vacancy/Unoccupancy Condition

Last November in my blogpost, Does the Standard Fire Policy Vacancy/Unoccupancy Condition Apply to a Fire Loss Occurring within Sixty Days of the Inception of Coverage, I discussed how courts have measured vacancy/unoccupancy when a loss occurs within sixty days of the inception of coverage; but, the insured property had been vacant or unoccupied for … Continue Reading

Does the Standard Fire Policy Vacancy/Unoccupancy Condition Apply to a Fire Loss Occurring within Sixty Days of the Inception of Coverage?

I have handled many fire losses over the years involving vacant and/or unoccupied property.1 In some losses, the fire occurred within 60 days of the inception of coverage; but, the insured property had been vacant or unoccupied for more than 60 days prior to the effective date of coverage. Invariably, the insurers in those fire … Continue Reading

Does an Insurer Have the Right to Raise a Defense in Litigation If Not a Basis For Its Denial?

The Appellate Court in New York recently reversed the trial court’s finding in favor of the insured which had concluded the vandalism exclusion did not apply to the loss.1 The insured owned certain real property which it was renovating and using as rental property. It was admitted the property had been vacant and unoccupied for … Continue Reading

Fire Claim Was Not Mischief but Other Courts Disagree

Going way back to the roots of insurance, fire was the peril that insurance was designed to protect. Fire damage and smoke are incredibly damaging and cause many injuries and fatalities. While our suppression efforts have a come a long way, there is still a long way for us to go with fire insurance claims … Continue Reading

What Constitutes a “Residence Premises”

A standard term in a homeowners policy is “residence premises.” However, a dispute can arise regarding the interpretation of this term when an insured either moves and does not advise his insurance carrier or if the insured is not living at the property on the date of loss.… Continue Reading

Insurance Coverage and the Risk of Purchasing a Vacant Building

Buildings that are vacant or unoccupied for extended periods of time present an increased risk of damage from theft and vandalism, especially in an urban setting such as Chicago. Recognizing this increased risk, most property insurance policies contain a vacancy provision which excludes coverage for losses resulting from vandalism, theft and other specified hazards if … Continue Reading

Does Vacancy Preclude Coverage, Even If Not Related to Cause Of Loss? – Texas Coverage Series

The Texas Supreme Court recently ruled that a vacancy clause remained enforceable by the insurance carrier to preclude coverage in a homeowner’s claim, even though the vacancy played no role in the cause of loss. In Greene v. Farmers Insurance Exchange,1 the Court found in favor of the insurance carrier with analysis that the case … Continue Reading

In Texas, is the Mortgagee Protected if the Mortgagor Leaves the Property Vacant?

In the recent case, SWE Homes, LP v. Wellington Insurance Company,1 the question presented concerned whether a standard mortgage clause in a residential insurance policy provided coverage to the mortgagee for a fire loss when the policy also contained a vacancy clause and the mortgagor had left the property vacant. In remanding the case to … Continue Reading

Homeowners Policy – If You Don’t “Live” There, Are You Covered?

On August 18, 2010, Insurance Commissioner Steve Poizner issued a press release encouraging California homeowners to review their homeowners’ policies and to consider their options regarding vacancy protection. His reasoning: As the U.S. housing market struggles to rebound, many homeowners are stuck with hard-to-sell properties. Frustrated home owners who must relocate for a new job … Continue Reading

Texas Court of Appeals Reverses Lower Court Ruling Regarding Vacancy

In July 2007, Lawyane Greene notified Farmers Insurance Exchange that she was moving to a retirement community and selling her house. Four months later, a fire spread from a neighboring property to Greene’s property, causing her to suffer a fire loss. Greene made a claim under her Farmer’s insurance policy for the fire damage. Relying … Continue Reading

Vacancy in Texas

Many renter’s insurance policies have a provision that excludes all coverage if a building is vacant for a certain amount of time. Unfortunately, many of those same policies fail to define “vacant” or ‘vacancy.” What does that lead to? If you guessed litigation, you’re absolutely right.… Continue Reading

Insurers Continually Confuse the Term “Vacancy” With the Term “Unoccupancy.” What Is the Difference?

Courts are often confronted with the question of what constitutes a “vacant” or “unoccupied” building within the meaning of an exclusionary provision in an insurance policy. To answer this question, courts compare the term “vacant” with the terms “occupied” or “unoccupied” as they are used in the exclusionary provision.… Continue Reading

Unoccupied In Texas

Many insurance policies will not cover a loss if a building was unoccupied at the time damage occurred. That could mean bad news for many property owners out there. But, before anyone begins to worry, it is important to know how Texas defines “unoccupied.”… Continue Reading

Waiver and Estoppel – Insurance Companies Must Assert Their Applicable Exclusion or Limitation When the Insured Makes the Claim

(Note: This Guest Blog is by Javier Delgado, an attorney with Merlin Law Group in the Houston, Texas, office. This is the eighth in a series he and fellow attorney Tina Nicholson will be writing on Texas property insurance issues). Often times, an insurance adjuster fails to properly investigate the damages to the insured risk … Continue Reading

FC&S Warns Agents and Policyholders to Watch the Vacancy Exclusionary Clause

Vacancy problems are becoming widespread as the economy and real estate market deteriorate. The FC&S Bulletin recently published an article, Active Occupancy: Elucidating the Vacancy Exclusion, which ran in the January edition of Claims Magazine. The article discussed this troubling clause which is becoming more commonplace. I suggest that all claims and coverage professionals subscribe to … Continue Reading

First Party Property Insurance Claims Conference Set

We will be participating in a brand new Property Insurance Claims Conference this fall. The inaugural First Party Claims Conference (FPCC) takes place October 26-27, 2009, at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Warwick (Providence), Rhode Island. A series of presentations, panel discussions, and interactive seminars will address significant issues regarding first party claims.… Continue Reading

Risk Managers, Property Managers and Condominiums Should Consider Wind Deductible And Vacant Property Coverage

The monthly Florida Underwriter is an excellent publication that I read to stay informed about many current issues facing the Florida insurance market. It is also very good at noting significant legal and political issues which impact insurance. Even the advertisements sometime reflect trends of insurance coverage that are significant to our clients. Two coverage issues … Continue Reading