Paying the lowest premium for property insurance is oftentimes not a great thing because, as with everything else, “you get what you pay for.” If you are paying a lower premium, it is for a reason. You likely have a restrictive policy that excludes more coverage (and, perhaps, all coverage) than you’d actually like in the event your property sustains a loss. Think about the coverage you are looking for before deciding to get the policy with the lowest premium.
For instance, there are policies with an exclusion that precludes coverage for water penetration “through the roof system or exterior walls or windows.” Think about this exclusion. Water penetration will undoubtedly come from one or a combination of these places, meaning this exclusion totally restricts coverage for water intrusion claims. Moreover, property insurance policies are also including anti-concurrent cause language in the policy, which is language that says, “Such loss is excluded regardless of any other cause or event contributing concurrently or in any sequence to the loss.” “‘An anti-concurrent cause provision is a provision in a first-party insurance policy that provides that when a covered cause and non-covered cause combine to cause a loss, all losses directly and indirectly caused by those events are excluded from coverage.” Security First Ins. Co. v. Czelusniak, 45 Fla. L. Weekly D1151b, n.1 (Fla. 3d DCA 2020).
In Czelusniak, an insured had an all-risk property insurance policy with this water penetration exclusion and an anti-concurrent cause provision. The insured sustained water penetration through windows, the walls, and doors, resulting in water damage. The exclusion bars water penetration through windows and walls but mentions nothing about doors. But, it did not matter because of the anti-concurrent cause provision:
While there is no provision in the policy expressly excluding damage from water penetrating through the doors of the dwelling, the policy expressly excluded damage from water penetrating through the “roof system or exterior walls or windows . . . .” Because evidence of water entering through the exterior walls and windows was undisputed and is expressly excluded by the policy, the entire loss is excluded from coverage due to the anti-concurrent cause provision regardless of any other cause or event contributing concurrently or in any sequence to the loss.
Accordingly, the anti-concurrent cause provision, coupled with the undisputed evidence that the loss was caused by a combination of both excluded and covered perils, foreclosed the analysis of whether the jury could legally or factually separate the damage caused by water coming through the door from water coming through the walls and windows. Therefore, we hold that the trial court erred in directing the verdict in favor of the insured and reverse and remand for the trial court to direct the verdict in favor of Security First.
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