If you have homeowner’s insurance in New York, your insurance policy likely has language providing that the home be a “residence premises” of the insured. In recent years, insurance companies have seized on this language to try to avoid paying claims. But in fact the law is much less straightforward than the insurance company may want you to believe.
Take for example a case we litigated against Allstate last year in federal court. In that case, Pollicino v. Allstate, the District Court for the Northern District of New York held that Allstate could not enforce its “residence premises” requirement against a homeowner. Judge Kahn agreed with us that this requirement in the policy directly contradicted another provision of the policy, which allowed the policyholder to leave the property vacant or unoccupied. The insurance company could not simultaneously require the homeowner to occupy the property and permit him or her to leave it vacant or unoccupied.
In another case last year, the insurance company contended that a couple that had moved out of their home to renovate it were no longer residing at the home. After a week-long trial, the jury ruled in our clients’ favor.
Over the last few years, we have successfully prosecuted these and many other claims in which insurance companies have denied claims on the basis of a “residence premises” clause. If you have received a denial on this basis, or believe the insurance company is investigating your claim to set up such a denial, give us a call today.