Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Grebow v. Mercury Ins. Co. (Cal. Ct. App. - Oct. 21, 2015)

Your house is collapsing.  There's severe decay in the steel beams that support the second story of your home.  The contractor and structural engineer tell you not to immediately vacate the home and not live there until the beams are replaced.  Because the thing's going down.

You freak out.  You vacate the home and spend $90,000 to fix the thing.  Because you don't want your house to collapse. Which it's going to do unless you get it fixed.

Fortunately, you have homeowner's insurance with Mercury Insurance Company.  Which expressly covers you for any collapse.  So you request reimbursement.

Mercury Insurance tells you to pound sand.  So you sue.  The trial court grants summary judgment.  Because your house hasn't collapsed yet.  So you're not entitled to a penny.

The Court of Appeal affirms.

Justice Mosk holds that even if the collapse was totally imminent, there's no coverage.  Because you fixed it first.  Now, if you'd have let the thing collapse, yeah, you're covered.

But you're an idiot.  You actually wanted to save the house.  And, for that, it's all totally on you.  Or, as Justice Mosk puts its, "When an insured can prevent an insurable loss from occurring, he or she does so because he or she would rather have the house and property in it than insurance proceeds or reconstruction. The homeowner generally would rather stay in the house than have it reduced to rubble and not have to replace personal possessions."

Your bad for not letting the house be "reduced to rubble" and trying to save your personal possessions.  Your selfish interest in that regard lets the insurance company off the hook.