While insurance companies can go out of their way to make the language of their homeowner policies confusing, it’s best to do your due diligence and read a policy before messing with the damaged part of your property. A case from Utah details a similar incident.

It’s a common issue with insurance companies when it comes to providing a payout to finish a repair that they will take their time. This leaves policy holders in a precarious position if their property is damaged and they’re still having to live in it.

Take for example the Poulsens living in Utah.

The couple found themselves in a bad situation when the roof to their home became damaged. The couple attempted to repair the damage, however water seeped through the repaired area and caused even more damage to the property.

The policy they had purchased through Farmers Insurance covered water damage caused under certain circumstances. Here is a lost of stipulations:

(1) the build-up of ice on portions of the roof or roof gutters on a building structure;
(2) hail, rain, snow, or sleet entering through an opening in the roof or wall of a building structure only if the opening is first caused by damage from the direct force of the following:
i. fire;
ii. lightning;
iii. explosion (other than nuclear explosion);
iv. riot or civil commotion;
v. aircraft or vehicles;
vi. vandalism or malicious mischief;
vii. collapse of a building structure or structural part of the building structure;
viii. falling objects; or
ix. windstorm.

Initially the Poulsen’s claim was denied by Farmers because they had altered the damaged area on the roof to the point it could not be considered part of the roof. Therefore any damage sustained through that damaged area could not be covered.

The Poulsen’s then took Farmers to court over this citing bad faith among other things. However the court agreed with Farmer’s assessment that the repaired area was only considered to be a temporary covering and not part of the roof.

So what’s the moral of the story?

If you have a homeowner’s policy, read the language before starting any repairs on your damaged property. If the language is confusing, consult a lawyer.

What do you think? Was the court justified or were the Poulsen’s in the right?