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Abandoned house?

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adjusterjack

Senior Member
RegPlus, in 2000 the appellate court of Illinois discussed the meaning of the word "vacant" as it relates to insurance policies. Your activities and presence in preparing the house for your occupancy might eliminate the insurance company's reliance on the word "vacant."

Study this decision carefully where it addresses vacancy and it will give you an idea about how much more detail about your activity at the house is necessary.

https://scholar.google.com/scholar_case?case=18212064525532746574&q=lundquist+v+allstate+ins+co&hl=en&as_sdt=4,14

Also note that the Lundquist decision has been cited in 19 subsequent cases which you can also read.

https://scholar.google.com/scholar?cites=18212064525532746574&as_sdt=400005&sciodt=4,14&hl=en

If it looks like your insurance company is going to deny your claim based on vacancy, you would be wise to consult an attorney who is experienced in first party property claims.
 


RegPlus

Active Member
RegPlus, in 2000 the appellate court of Illinois discussed the meaning of the word "vacant" as it relates to insurance policies. Your activities and presence in preparing the house for your occupancy might eliminate the insurance company's reliance on the word "vacant."

Study this decision carefully where it addresses vacancy and it will give you an idea about how much more detail about your activity at the house is necessary.

https://scholar.google.com/scholar_case?case=18212064525532746574&q=lundquist+v+allstate+ins+co&hl=en&as_sdt=4,14

Also note that the Lundquist decision has been cited in 19 subsequent cases which you can also read.

https://scholar.google.com/scholar?cites=18212064525532746574&as_sdt=400005&sciodt=4,14&hl=en

If it looks like your insurance company is going to deny your claim based on vacancy, you would be wise to consult an attorney who is experienced in first party property claims.

I think it is kinda stupid to not cover vacant home.
It hasn't even been 30 days when I wired the money to the real estate people.
Plus I had to wait a few more days for the Wells Fargo bank to sign the contract.

Now I finally got the house 2 weeks later... a few days before I went in the house with the key code.
 

adjusterjack

Senior Member
I think it is kinda stupid to not cover vacant home.
A vacant home is a high risk for vandalism if nobody is living there or taking care of the place. The insurance industry understands temporary vacancy or lack of occupancy which is why the 30 day limit on vandalism is in there.

Most people are (or should be) able to move in to a newly purchased home within 30 days of close of escrow. If they can't they can buy a vacancy extension for an additional premium.

It hasn't even been 30 days when I wired the money to the real estate people. Plus I had to wait a few more days for the Wells Fargo bank to sign the contract. Now I finally got the house 2 weeks later... a few days before I went in the house with the key code.
What was the exact date that you closed escrow? In other words, the date you became owner of the home?

What was the exact date of the inception of your home owners policy?

And what was the exact date of the vandalism?

Please answer all three questions with exact dates.
 

RegPlus

Active Member
Vacant home. The property is entirely empty, without any personal property inside. I have my things in the house.
 

RegPlus

Active Member
What was the exact date that you closed escrow? In other words, the date you became owner of the home?

I wired the money to the real estate people on August 7, 2018. And I waited for Wells Fargo
to pay for selling the house. It finally closed on August 17th. And the real estate people gave me the key code to enter the house on August 16, 2018.


What was the exact date of the inception of your home owners policy?

Policy Period: August 13, 2018

And what was the exact date of the vandalism?

August 30, 2018

Please answer all three questions with exact dates.
 

quincy

Senior Member
I'm a she.
Have the police arrested anyone yet for assault and battery and vandalism of your house, or have the police been unable to identify a suspect (suspects)?

Does anyone in your neighborhood have surveillance cameras that might lead to identification?

If anyone is ever arrested and charged with the crimes, you can file a lawsuit against him (or them) - and, if the persons responsible are charged and convicted, the court can order restitution.
 

RegPlus

Active Member
Have the police arrested anyone yet for assault and battery and vandalism of your house, or have the police been unable to identify a suspect (suspects)?

Does anyone in your neighborhood have surveillance cameras that might lead to identification?

If anyone is ever arrested and charged with the crimes, you can file a lawsuit against him (or them) - and, if the persons responsible are charged and convicted, the court can order restitution.
I haven't heard from them. They didn't even come and look at the property. They said "A detective will contact you" and that's it. They didn't even come to take photos or fingerprinting or anything.

Next door neighbor has 2 surveillance cameras. And the adjuster few days ago asked, "Surveillance cameras for their cheap broken down house?"
 

quincy

Senior Member
I haven't heard from them. They didn't even come and look at the property. They said "A detective will contact you" and that's it. They didn't even come to take photos or fingerprinting or anything.

Next door neighbor has 2 surveillance cameras. And the adjuster few days ago asked, "Surveillance cameras for their cheap broken down house?"
I suggest you contact the police to inquire on the status of their investigation into the crimes.

I would also ask your neighbor if you could view their surveillance recordings.
 

RegPlus

Active Member
I suggest you contact the police to inquire on the status of their investigation into the crimes.

I would also ask your neighbor if you could view their surveillance recordings.
Okay. I will.
I will have the detective to talk to the neighbor. They got a dog in their front yard with a leash without any fence around. That rope might snap while the dog charging at me. I don't want to be bitten.
 

adjusterjack

Senior Member
What was the exact date that you closed escrow? In other words, the date you became owner of the home?
I wired the money to the real estate people on August 7, 2018. And I waited for Wells Fargo
to pay for selling the house. It finally closed on August 17th. And the real estate people gave me the key code to enter the house on August 16, 2018.


What was the exact date of the inception of your home owners policy?
Policy Period: August 13, 2018

And what was the exact date of the vandalism?
August 30, 2018


To summarize - You became owner on August 17, the policy inception was August 13, the vandalism occurred August 30, your policy contains the following exclusion "Vandalism and malicious mischief if the dwelling has been vacant for more than 30 consecutive days immediately before the loss", and your insurance company is asking if the property was vacant before you bought the house.

It occurred to me that your insurance company was contemplating including a period of vacancy that occurred (if it did occur) prior to your ownership instead of counting the days from your ownership.

My gut says that isn't right but my gut is not a court of law so there I went, back to researching appellate decisions in Illinois.

The issue of whether the period of vacancy should be calculated from the inception of the vacancy or from the inception of the policy and/or ownership was addressed by the Illinois Appellate Court in Kolivera v. Hartford Fire Insurance Co.

https://scholar.google.com/scholar_case?case=4641513872929767095&q=kolivera+v+hartford+fire+ins+co&hl=en&as_sdt=4,14

The Hartford issued a new policy on Kolivera's building. The policy had a 60 day vacancy clause instead of a 30 day but the issue is the same. The loss occurred within 60 days of policy issue but Hartford denied the claim because the building had been vacant before the inception of the policy and the total period was more than 60 days.

There had been no prior Illinois decisions on that specific issue so the court relied on the decisions of other courts and wrote:

The leading case appears to be Old Colony Insurance Co. v. Garvey, 253 F.2d 299 (4th Cir.1958), where it was held that, absent specific language including such, a previous condition of vacancy or unoccupancy of premises is to be disregarded upon the issuance of a policy of insurance containing a vacancy clause, and that such clause is to be measured from the time of issuance of the policy. Other cases have followed this view: United States F. & G. Co. v. Board of Ed. of Fairfield (N.D. Ala. 1972), 339 F. Supp. 315; Home Mutual Fire Insurance Co. v. Pierce (Ark. 1966), 402 S.W.2d 672; Bledsoe v. Farm Bureau Mutual Insurance Co. (Mo. App. 1960), 341 S.W.2d 626; Hurst v. Donegal & Conoy Mutual Fire Insurance Co., 224 S.C. 188, 78 S.E.2d 189. We have found no case holding otherwise.

As defendants Hartford Fire Insurance Company, Citizens Insurance Company, and Centennial Insurance Company, who issued new policies within the 60-day period, had a reasonable opportunity to inspect the property to determine whether it conformed to all requirements of a policy prior to the issuance of coverage, they should not be heard later to claim a violation of a vacancy provision which they took no steps to discover. We adopt the view of the authorities cited and hold that pre-existing vacancy or unoccupancy prior to the issuance of a policy of insurance will be disregarded unless specific language in the policy provides otherwise.
The Kolivera decision has been cited in 15 subsequent cases available for your perusal at:

https://scholar.google.com/scholar?cites=4641513872929767095&as_sdt=400005&sciodt=4,14&hl=en

A similar decision was reached in West Bend Mutual Ins Co v. New Packing Company, Inc. The difference being that, instead of the insurance company issuing a new policy on an owned building, this insured was a new owner of the building.

https://www.propertyinsurancecoveragelaw.com/files/2017/11/NewPackingCompany.pdf

As in Kolivera, the court explained the difference between calculating back from the date of loss and calculating from the effective date of coverage and agreed that the wording "before the loss" would allow the vacancy period to be calculated back from the date of loss.

In spite of that, the court ruled that:

Nevertheless, we find that the vacancy provision cannot be relied upon to exclude coverage
under the circumstances in this case. Prior to issuing an endorsement to the policy adding the
warehouse as an insured property, West Bend had an opportunity to inspect the premises to
determine if it was vacant. Thereafter, West Bend could have chosen not to underwrite the risk or
it could have chosen to provide coverage at an additional premium.

Under these circumstances, West Bend cannot now claim a violation of a vacancy provision
where it took no steps to discover whether the subject building was vacant. See Kolivera, 8 Ill. App.
3d at 360-1 (companies issuing policies within 60-day period had an opportunity to inspect premises
prior to issuance, and since they failed to exercise this opportunity, the preexisting vacancy would
be disregarded unless the policies specifically provided otherwise). "An insurance policy may not
be issued on a vacant building and then be excluded from coverage because it is a vacant building."
Poland v. Phillips, 371 So.2d 1053, 1056 (Fla. 3d DCA 1979).
Note that the New Packing decision cannot be cited as precedential but it does cite the Kolivera decision which can be cited as precedential.

When next you talk to your claim rep about the question of vacancy prior to your ownership of the property, you might consider telling him that it's irrelevant and refer him to the Kolivera and New Packing decisions.

I believe that an Illinois court would find you covered for the vandalism damage since it occurred well within the 30 days of ownership and/or policy issue.
 

RegPlus

Active Member
To summarize - You became owner on August 17, the policy inception was August 13, the vandalism occurred August 30, your policy contains the following exclusion "Vandalism and malicious mischief if the dwelling has been vacant for more than 30 consecutive days immediately before the loss", and your insurance company is asking if the property was vacant before you bought the house.

It occurred to me that your insurance company was contemplating including a period of vacancy that occurred (if it did occur) prior to your ownership instead of counting the days from your ownership.

My gut says that isn't right but my gut is not a court of law so there I went, back to researching appellate decisions in Illinois.

The issue of whether the period of vacancy should be calculated from the inception of the vacancy or from the inception of the policy and/or ownership was addressed by the Illinois Appellate Court in Kolivera v. Hartford Fire Insurance Co.

https://scholar.google.com/scholar_case?case=4641513872929767095&q=kolivera+v+hartford+fire+ins+co&hl=en&as_sdt=4,14

The Hartford issued a new policy on Kolivera's building. The policy had a 60 day vacancy clause instead of a 30 day but the issue is the same. The loss occurred within 60 days of policy issue but Hartford denied the claim because the building had been vacant before the inception of the policy and the total period was more than 60 days.

There had been no prior Illinois decisions on that specific issue so the court relied on the decisions of other courts and wrote:



The Kolivera decision has been cited in 15 subsequent cases available for your perusal at:

https://scholar.google.com/scholar?cites=4641513872929767095&as_sdt=400005&sciodt=4,14&hl=en

A similar decision was reached in West Bend Mutual Ins Co v. New Packing Company, Inc. The difference being that, instead of the insurance company issuing a new policy on an owned building, this insured was a new owner of the building.

https://www.propertyinsurancecoveragelaw.com/files/2017/11/NewPackingCompany.pdf

As in Kolivera, the court explained the difference between calculating back from the date of loss and calculating from the effective date of coverage and agreed that the wording "before the loss" would allow the vacancy period to be calculated back from the date of loss.

In spite of that, the court ruled that:



Note that the New Packing decision cannot be cited as precedential but it does cite the Kolivera decision which can be cited as precedential.

When next you talk to your claim rep about the question of vacancy prior to your ownership of the property, you might consider telling him that it's irrelevant and refer him to the Kolivera and New Packing decisions.

I believe that an Illinois court would find you covered for the vandalism damage since it occurred well within the 30 days of ownership and/or policy issue.
Okay. Thank you. I'll read about Kolivera in the morning during the day. I told them to ask the real estate agent, they may know.
They told me that we were going to closed on August 13th... but we were waiting for Wells Fargo bank to respond. So they postpone til August 17th. Finally Wells Fargo responded.
 
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