There’s No Place Like House! Kansas Federal Court docket Holds Home-owner’s Coverage Protection Requires Policyholder to Bodily Reside at Residence


A federal courtroom lately held that an insurer might deny protection below a home-owner’s coverage for a “residence premises” when the insured by no means truly lived on the premises. In Sina Davani v. Vacationers Private Insurance coverage Firm and Geico Insurance coverage Company, LLC, Case No. 22-1244 (D. Kan. October 26, 2023), the District of Kansas granted defendant-insurer’s movement for abstract judgment holding that the plaintiff-insured by no means resided on the insured premises and residence within the context of an insurance coverage contract requires an insured’s bodily presence at a sure location and an intent to stay on the location for an indefinite time period.


Plaintiff made an insurance coverage declare to his insurer Vacationers Private Insurance coverage Firm (“Vacationers”) after discovering harm ensuing from a water leak at his property in Wichita, Kansas (the “Property”). The coverage supplied protection for Plaintiff’s “residence premises” which was outlined within the coverage as “[t]he one household dwelling or unit the place you reside . . . and which is proven because the ‘residence premises’ within the Declarations.” The Declarations listed the Property as Plaintiff’s residence premises. Vacationers started its investigation of the declare and retained the help of its Particular Investigations Unit when it appeared Plaintiff might not have resided on the Property. Throughout the declare investigation, Plaintiff filed swimsuit for breach of insurance coverage contract. Vacationers subsequently filed a movement for abstract judgment searching for  dismissal of Plaintiff’s Criticism.

Vacationers argued Plaintiff’s declare was clearly precluded as a result of the coverage unambiguously required that Plaintiff reside on the Property on the time of the claimed loss. Plaintiff conceded that he was not dwelling on the Property on the time of loss, however argued {that a} cheap insured may interpret the phrase “residence premises” within the coverage to incorporate a property that the insured might not presently reside in, however may use as a residence. Plaintiff additionally argued that as a result of the coverage contained sure exclusions for properties which can be unoccupied for greater than 60 days, the coverage impliedly gives protection for properties unoccupied for lower than 60 days. Making use of Kansas regulation concerning the interpretation of insurance coverage contracts, the Court docket held that the coverage’s definition of “residence premises” was not ambiguous and require precise residency. Additional, citing to the Kansas Court docket of Appeals resolution in Teter v. Corley, 2 Kan. App. second 540, 542, 584 P.second 651, 653 (1978), the Court docket held that within the context of insurance coverage contracts, residence requires an insured’s bodily presence at a sure location and an intent to stay on the location for an indefinite time period. Lastly, the Court docket discovered Plaintiff’s emptiness argument unavailing as a result of Plaintiff didn’t deny that he failed to maneuver into and stay within the Property inside 60 days. Thus, the Court docket held that Plaintiff failed to fulfill his burden exhibiting he was entitled to protection.

The District of Kansas’ resolution that an insured’s precise residency on the insured property is required ought to encourage insurers to look at the definitions of “residence premises” of their house owner’s insurance policies to make sure that the definition conforms to the supposed function of the coverage. As well as, insurers ought to use clear and unambiguous language to protect in opposition to an argument {that a} coverage doesn’t require precise residency.

About The Writer

Print Page


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *