INSURANCE: HOMEOWNER’S INSURANCE: ALL RISKS COVERAGE: VACANCY EXCLUSION UNAMBIGUOUSLY APPLIED TO LOSS CAUSED BY ARSON BECAUSE ARSON WAS ENCOMPASSED WITHIN THE PHRASE “VANDALISM AND MALICIOUS MISCHIEF” IN THE EXCLUSION: BECAUSE INSURED’S CLAIM INVOLVED DAMAGE TO STRUCTURE, IT WAS UNNECESSARY TO CONSIDER NAMED PERILS COVERAGE FOR PERSONAL PROPERTY IN ORDER TO CREATE AN AMBIGUITY; CIVIL PROCEDURE: SUMMARY JUDGMENT: SUMMARY JUDGMENT FOR INSURER AFFIRMED

Botee v. Southern Fidelity Insurance Company, ___ So. 3d ___, 40 Fla. L. Weekly D368 (Fla. 5th DCA February 6, 2015)

The appellate court affirmed summary judgment for the insurer on a homeowner’s insurance claim. The policy provided all risks coverage on the structure and named perils coverage on personal property. The policy excluded coverage for vandalism and malicious mischief to the structure if it was vacant for more than thirty days on the date of loss. The trial court determined that the exclusion applied, and the appellate court agreed. The fact that the policy did not define “vandalism or malicious mischief” or “fire” did not make it ambiguous. The court “conclude[d] that the plain and ordinary meanings of ‘vandalism’ and ‘malicious mischief’ include ‘arson.’” The court refused to consider the personal property coverage in order to create an ambiguity because the insured’s loss was limited to the structure. The named perils under the personal property coverage included “fire or lightning” and “vandalism or malicious mischief.” As a result, under the personal property coverage, a distinction could be drawn between fire and vandalism, but the personal property coverage was not implicated by the loss in question.

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