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Time Is Not On Your Side! Policyholder’s Claim Dismissed As A Result Of “wear and tear” Damages Under Homeowner’s Insurance Policy (PA)

December 17, 2021

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<p style="text-align: justify;">Recently, the Western District of PA, in <em><a href="https://www.wcmlaw.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/12/Blanton-v.-State-Farm-Fire-Cas.-Co..pdf">Blanton v. State Farm Fire &amp; Cas. Co.</a>,</em> dismissed a claim of an insured homeowner who failed to claim the wear and tear damage to her home fell within the policy’s provisions.  In Blanton, the policyholder suffered water damage to her home, alleging the damage was a result of water being trapped behind stucco. The water, over time, was trapped like a bubble, and the build up caused the damage to the home when released.  While the policy specifically covered sudden and accidental damage from weather conditions, the insurer averred it did not cover damages over time, such as wear and tear, and deterioration. These additional damages were argued to be “resulting damages” and covered under the policy.</p>
<p style="text-align: justify;">Ultimately, State Farm moved to dismiss the complaint based on the fact that the policy did not cover “continuous exposure of water from the downspout” and the Court agreed with this analysis.  Judicial review of this policy’s insuring agreement and exclusions provided no ambiguities, and the Court properly dismissed the policyholder’s vague, unsubstantiated claims of a covered loss.</p>
<p style="text-align: justify;">Thanks to Kevin Riley for his assistance with this article.  Should you have any questions, please contact <a href="mailto:tbracken@wcmlaw.com">Tom Bracken</a>.</p>

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