Insurance Exclusion for Damage to Vacant Property During Remodel

The M.D. Fla. recently issued an opinion on insurance exclusion for damage to vacant property during remodel (Jarvis v. GeoVera 2017 WL 2869706).  In the case Jarvis owned property which was vacant while renovations were being effected.  During this period vandals intentionally set fire to the property.

GeoVera denied coverage under a homeowners insurance policy because the property was vacant for more than 30 consecutive days before the loss.  In response Jarvis argued there’s an exception to the exclusion if the property is being still constructed.  The Court held the plain and ordinary meaning of phrase contemplated bringing a dwelling into existence from the ground up (and therefore not renovations, repairs or refurbishments to an already existing dwelling).