Case Law Wednesdays – Constant and Repeated Seepage Exclusion

Most insurance policies cover losses on an all risk basis if a claim is the result of a direct physical loss. However, insurance policies typically contain a section describing what an insurance policy expressly excludes from coverage. Usually an insurance policy does not provide coverage for constant or repeated seepage that extends over a specific period of time.

In Hicks v. American Integrity Insurance Company [1], the insured filed a claim with his insurance company after he noticed that the water supply line to his refrigerator was broken. The insured was out of town when the water supply line started slowly leaking and by the time the insured returned home, the supply line was discharging almost one thousand gallons each day. The Insurance Company denied the insured’s claim based on the exclusion found in the insured’s policy stating that there was no coverage for constant or repeated seepage or leakage of water over a period of 14 or more days.

The insured sued stating that the exclusion only applied to losses caused by water on day 14 and onward. Thus, the policy covered the loss in the first 13 days. The appellate court noted that the provision was ambiguous and could reasonably be interpreted in more than one way. The appellate court reasoned that when there were two interpretations of a policy provision and one of the interpretations provided coverage, the interpretation that provided coverage would be applied because the exclusion had to be read strictly against the insurance company. Thus, the appellate court interpreted the exclusion to only encompass a leak that occurred for a period of 14 days or more and to provide coverage for any leakage of 13 days or less.

This shows that an insurance company may provide coverage for the leak at your property even if it has persisted for more than one day. However, it is important that when you are faced with a leak at your property, you gather information on the nature and time frame of the leak. One day could be the difference from your insurance company providing coverage or not.

Additionally, the language contained in your policy is extremely important. As we always caution, insurance coverage and exclusions should be reviewed every year to ensure that coverage is appropriate for the circumstances.

If you have sustained a leak at your property, schedule a consultation with the experienced attorneys at Alvarez Law Group today. Call us at (786) 620-2820 or email to schedule a consultation.

*Disclaimer: this blog post is not intended to be legal advice. *

[1] Hugh Hicks v. American Integrity Insurance Company of Florida., 5D17-1282 (Fla. 5th DCA 2017)

The following two tabs change content below.

Alvarez Law Group

At Alvarez Law Group, we are proud of our reputation for being a trusted advocate during insurance claims litigation and real estate transactions.

Latest posts by Alvarez Law Group (see all)