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What is covered by structures away from the residential area? | Legal insurance blog for property insurance



Some homeowners insurance policies include claims or specific languages ​​that provide coverage for specific structures that are outside the residential area. The most recent case of Jacquart v State Auto Property & Casualty Insurance Company 1 analyzed whether a structure 190 km from Residence Premises was covered by such an approval.

relevant insurance language provided:

We cover any structure described in the schedule above that is owed by you and is away from the "residential premises", if used by you in connection with the "residential premises."

The insured had bought a property located 1

90 km from Residence Premises and built a small structure on the ground. While the structure had a roof, hardwood floors, windows, a secure door, a wood-burning stove and a ballast for electricity, it did not contain a bathroom or kitchen, nor did it have a drain or running water. The structure was unfurnished.

The structure was damaged as a result of a wildfire and the insured claimed State Auto. State Auto denied the allegation on the grounds that the structure was not used "in conjunction with the living quarters." The insured brought an action and State Auto brought for a summary judgment on the same grounds.

The U.S. District Court for the District of Colorado granted State Auto's request for a summary judgment and concluded that the small structure was not used in connection with the living quarters. First, the court rejected the insured's argument that they used the structure as a way to "escape from the heat" from Primärbostaden. The court found that by its nature using the structure as an "escape" could not be interpreted as using the property "in connection with" the residential premises. And secondly, the court rejected the insured's argument that the property was used to store recreational equipment and unused carpet, which could not be enjoyed in the residential area.

The Court noted that unlike a shed or garage where objects are stored that can actually be used in the living spaces, such objects could not and were not used in connection with the living spaces. In other words, it was not enough to use an object stored in the structure to conclude that the property itself was used in connection with the residential premises. The court concluded that the use of the structure was separate and different from their use of the Primary Housing and that coverage was therefore not provided during the Structures Away approval of the policy.
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1 Jacquart v. State Auto Prop. & Cas. Ins. Co. No. 19-cv-2480, 2020 WL 7055500 (D. Colo. December 2, 2020).


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