I find my customers to be one of the best sources for blog content. Just recently, I was talking on Twitter with a client and she was joking about setting her house on fire to get rid of the swarms of spiders that have taken up residence. I knew she was joking, but as is my custom, advised her that arson is never covered. She then asked, ” So what if someone else sets your house on fire? Now I’m just curious.”
And I bet many others are as well.
I LIVE for these types of questions, so I dug out the policy forms from our companies to see exactly how their exclusions read.
Here’s what Motorists says in their most common homeowners form:
We do not insure for loss caused directly or indirectly by any of the following. Such loss is excluded regardless of any other cause or event contributing concurrently or in any sequence to the loss…………due to:
h. Intentional Loss, meaning any loss arising out of any act committed: (1) By or at the direction of an “insured”; and (2) With the intent to cause a loss.
And Buckeye next:
Intentional Acts– “We” do not pay any “insured” for loss which results from any act committed by or at the direction of any “insured” with the intent to cause a loss.
And lastly, Erie says:
“We” do not pay for loss resulting directly or indirectly from any of the following, even if other events or happenings contributed concurrently, or in sequence, to the loss:
……….by intentional loss, meaning any loss arising from an act committed by or at the direction of “anyone we protect” or any additional insured listed on the “Declarations” with the intent to cause a loss.
Hmm, I’m sensing a pattern here…..But I’m confident that most of you already know that if you intentionally set a fire to your own house, you’re S.O.L. (and if you don’t know this term, it means no dice with the insurance company).
But, this does circle back to the original question- What if someone else does it?
Here’s my take-
As long as you (or whoever else is considered an insured, e.g. spouse, kids, other family member that is living in the house) didn’t work with someone to set the fire (i.e. you pay them X number of dollars to do it), then the claim should be paid (although I’ve talked to some people recently that said a fire claim wasn’t paid because it was mysterious. Weigh in on that if you would).
Erie goes one step further and includes “Additional Insured.” So if a person/organization you’ve added as Additional Insured sets the fire, no coverage. A bit more restrictive, since you don’t have direct control over Additional Insureds, like you do people living in your house.
What do YOU think? Ever had this happen to you or someone you know? What was the outcome?
I’m thankful to say my office hasn’t had many fires, so my experience with these situations isn’t great. But, it intrigues me nonetheless. Especially the folks that say their claim wasn’t paid because the fire was of unknown origin.