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Homeowner Breaches Policy By Not Complying With Right-to-Repair

March 22, 2022

In People’s Trust Insurance Company v. First Call 24/7, Inc., 4D21-1504 (March 9, 2022), the Fourth District reversed an award of damages under a homeowner’s insurance policy to the homeowner’s assignee because the homeowner failed to comply with the policy’s right-to-repair endorsement. After the homeowner reported a claim for water damage, the insurer acknowledged coverage and exercised its right to repair. The insurer paid the homeowner’s assignee for emergency services, and sent the homeowner a work authorization for the remaining repairs. The homeowner never signed the form, and the assignee eventually submitted an invoice for restoration services, and filed suit after the insurer refused to pay. The trial court entered summary judgment for the assignee, but the appellate court reversed, holding that once the insurer exercised its right to repair, a new contract was formed between the insurer and the homeowner, obligating the insurer to make repairs, and requiring the homeowner to sign the required forms and allow the repairs to be made. The failure to sign the work authorization was thus a material breach of the policy, and without evidence that the insurer improperly exercised its right to repair, or that the provision was invalid, no benefits were owed on the policy. This case underscores that the insurer’s right to repair is an integral part of the policy, and the consequences of failing to comply can be severe for the homeowner and its assignee. Read more here.

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