Split Ruling On Vacancy Exclusion Burns Insurers

Law360, Los Angeles (April 7, 2015, 8:13 PM EDT) -- A California appeals court's recent ruling that a fire set by a transient in a vacant house isn't vandalism constricts the application of the vacancy exclusion found in some property policies and potentially puts insurers on the hook for more risk than they bargained for, according to attorneys.

In a split decision, an appellate panel concluded that a Fire Insurance Exchange policy's exclusion for a loss from vandalism or "malicious mischief" doesn't apply to bar coverage for the destruction of a house by a fire started by a transient to keep warm because the fire wasn't set with malicious intent....

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