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From the Editor
"Ask an Expert" Briefs
ACV vs. RC Recovery in Liability Claims - Revisited
A burst water pipe in a neighbor’s yard causes water damage to flooring in your insured landlord’s rental home. The rental home DP insurer denies the damage, citing the “surface water” exclusion. The neighbor’s HO insurer says they only have to pay ACV and won’t replace mismatched carpeting that wasn’t directly damaged. What can your insured do?
Coverage for Potted Trees, Shrubs and Plants Under HO Policies
Does the trees, shrubs and plants Additional Coverage in a Homeowners policy apply inside and outside the home? Does it apply to plants in a yard or to potted plants as well? Is there a difference in this coverage between ISO forms and between ISO and non-ISO forms?
Insuring Grave Markers
Vandalism of grave markers at cemeteries is, unfortunately, a common loss exposure. When this happens, where is insurance coverage (if any) likely to be found? This article addresses the basic coverage issue. In a future update, we’ll address insurable interest concerns.
No Coverage for Riding Mower Until It’s Actually Used?
An insured buys a riding lawn mower which is damaged by a covered peril under his HO policy before he gets the chance to use it. The adjuster has denied the claim on the basis that coverage isn’t triggered until the mower is actually used. Does this sound right?
Swimming Pools…HO Coverage A or B?
We often get questions about in ground pools and whether they’re HO Coverage A or B. HO guru David Thompson explains, with photos, why this isn’t always cut and dried, but provides some advice on how to reach a consensus with the underwriter.
Abusing the HO "Business" Special Limit
The insured's home suffered a water loss. The damages to personal property included equipment that the insured purchased from a business that was dissolved. This equipment included a desk, bookcase, copier, and fax machine. The adjuster has advised that these items fall under the special limit of liability as 'business' property. The insured does not use them in a business. Does this limitation apply?
Are Lawns Plants?
Fire from a lightning strike did several thousand dollars woth of damage to an insured's landscaped lawn. The adjuster says the $500 per-plant 'trees, shrubs, and plants' sublimit applies to the lawn. Is the lawn a 'plant' with an elaborate root system or is it a collection of plants?
Coverage A Limit and Debris Removal
In order to determine Coverage A under a homeowners policy, one must estimate the replacement cost of the dwelling. In determining Coverage A, should only the replacement cost be considered or should the limit include an amount for debris removal of the damaged property?
Coverage for Personal Use of Business Property
A country club golf pro vacationed in Florida with his family. His rental car was broken into and his golf clubs were stolen. The HO carrier denied the claim, citing a business personal property exclusion. Does this exclusion apply when property is being used for personal reasons?
Covering CD's While in an Auto
I just checked my mini-van and I estimate that I've got about $500 worth of CD's in it. What if those CD's are damaged or stolen...any coverage under my homeowners or auto policies? What if I'm moving from one place to another and, like my friend Gary, I'm transporting $8,000 worth of CD's...any coverage? In this article, our personal lines faculty debates this issue and we even include ISO's position on the policy intent....
Covering PDAs, MP3 Players, and Other Gadgets
If you're a typical American business person with a family, chances are you have one or more PDAs, MP3 players, or other electronic media gadgets in your household. Needless to say, these devices can cost several hundred dollars, not to mention the value of the information, songs or other media, and the cost to restore this electronic information if damaged or destroyed. Just what coverage does your HO policy afford, if any?
Debris Removal and Trees
A windstorm blows a tree onto your insured's home. The HO policy includes a sublimit for debris removal of trees under certain conditions. However, for the removal of the tree from the house in order to repair it, does this sublimit apply or is the removal from the dwelling simply part of the Coverage A repair costs?
Direct vs. Consequential Damage in the Homeowners Policy
Here's the scenario: Windstorm and/or hail has damaged shingles on the roof of your insured's home. Since the roof is over 15 years old, replacing selected shingles with new ones will make the roof unsightly. So, of course, the insured wants the entire roof replaced. The carrier refuses, saying their only contractual obligation is to replace the damaged shingles. How do the ISO Homeowners forms respond?
HO Coverage for "Lifted" Shingles
A severe windstorm lifted many shingles on an insured home. Debris, dust and other crud got under some of the shingles. Many will not seal back properly. The warranty has been voided by the 'damage.' The carrier is arguing that there is no damage to the shingles. My instinct tells me if they were not fully what they were, then there's damage. Do you think this constitutes damage?
HO Coverage for Rented Property
The insured rented a computer from a local rental company. The computer was stolen from a vehicle. The adjuster is stating there is no coverage under the HO policy based on the exclusion, 'Property rented or held for rental to others off the 'residence premises'.' Does this in fact apply or is this referring to property rented to others other than the insured?
HO Coverage for Stolen Cell Phone Charges
Your cell phone is stolen and hundreds of dollars (if you're lucky) of charges are placed on the phone. Is this covered by your HO-3 homeowners policy? What about an HO-5 form?
How a Company Car Can Affect Your HOMEOWNERS Insurance
One of the major differences between the ISO HO2000 and the HO1991 Homeowners programs is how business use of a detached structure affects coverage. Under the 1991 program, virtually ANY business use of a detached structure triggers an exclusion. The 2000 program employs a less restrictive exclusion, which is great news for SOME insureds who store business property in their detached garage. But how about the thousands that park company cars in those garages?
One of the fastest growing crimes in America is identity theft. According to its victims, identity theft can be traumatic and take years to recover from. In addition to the potential loss of money and property, identity theft can destroy a person's credit and cost tens of thousands of dollars in legal fees, lost wages, and related expenses. Do standard personal lines policies cover any or all of these losses? If not, what can you do to help your insureds manage this risk?
Insurance Implications of Western Wildfires
In the past few years, raging wild fires have plagued much of the western U.S. This problem has raised insurance concerns as well, based on at least three 'Ask an Expert' questions we've received in the past month. In this article, we'll explore the implications of insurance coverage, particularly the HO civil authority coverage when evacuations are ordered.
Insuring Gift Cards - Personal Lines
Gift cards have become an increasingly popular form of giving for Christmas, birthdays, and many other occasions. Each year, BILLIONS of dollars are spent on gift cards, many of which are never redeemed. If a gift card is lost or stolen, is there any coverage for the lost value under a homeowners policy?
Insuring Property in Storage
Here's a question our 'Ask an Expert' service recently received: 'Our insured has to place items in a self storage facility for approximately 6-7 months while his new home is being built. One of those items will be an ATV. Does the homeowners policy cover these items or do we need to obtain more specific coverage?'
Just Because It's Not Covered Doesn't Mean It's Not Covered
The insured's brother-in-law was helping him clean up some storm damage when a tree limb damaged his lawn tractor. The adjuster denied the damage as a liability claim under the Damage to Property of Others because it requires the damage to be 'caused by' an insured. In this case, the adjuster might be right...but that doesn't mean the damage is not covered.
Sublimits and Deductibles
When property that is damaged is subject to a policy sublimit, does the deductible apply to the loss or the sublimit? This is an age-old question, but it recently came up in an auto insurance claim. In this article, we'll present examples from both auto and homeowners to demonstrate how it works.
The HO Policy and Swimming Pools...B vs. C
Question: 'On an HO-3 policy, how is an above-ground swimming pool covered? Does it fall under Other Structures or Personal Property? I have always consider it Coverage B, similar to a storage shed, fence, etc. The insurer is saying it is Coverage C personal property.'
Trees and the Homeowners Policy
An agency is trying to come up with a streamlined, simplified summary of how the ISO homeowners policies respond to various types of losses involving trees. In this article, Mike Edwards does just that with regard to the why, where, and what of damage to trees and the removal of their debris. In addition, we'll link to other VU articles on related issues.
When Does an Insured "Acquire" Property?
The HO 04 60 covers acquired jewelry (for a sublimit) if reported within 30 days. If any insured buys jewelry on March 7 but doesn't pick it up until April 3, when does the 30-day coverage period start? If the jewelry is stolen on April 23, is it covered up to the sublimit?
Why Buy a Renter's Insurance Policy?
On October 4, 2009, while I was visiting my parents in Vero Beach, at 4:32 a.m. my cell phone rang and the caller ID showed it to be my daughter. I knew it was not going to be a good call at that time of day. She said, “Dad, my apartment building just burned to the ground.” She lost almost everything she owned. But here is the GOOD news....
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