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Just loading a new claim with an insurer for where a pet dog has damaged the client's glasses by chewing them.

The policy notes the following regarding pet damage:

“Household pets: we won’t cover loss caused by any pets scratching, chewing, tearing, or soiling. This exclusion only applies if you don’t live in your home.”

The client is renting currently so it seems at first glance that coverage will be denied as the client is not living in a home that they own.

However could the following legislation be a factor in this claim?

ILRA 1977 section 11 - Certain exclusions forbidden.

Section 11 of the Insurance Law Reform Act 1977 provides that an insurer must accept a claim which falls within a policy exclusion if the exclusion was inserted because of an increased risk of loss occurring in the excluded circumstance, but the circumstance did not cause or contribute to the loss which is the subject of the claim.

Would be interested to understand if the exclusion is applicable as it would seem to be that risk factor is the individual dog rather than if they were living in an owner occupied home.

And therefore given the risk is the individual dog then on the balance of probabilities the dog may still have chewed the glasses if they were in an owner occupied home and not a rental property.

Crossley Gates replies:

I believe section 11 is potentially available to the insured in relation to this exclusion.

The exclusion only applies in circumstances where the insured doesn't live in his or her home as defined. This seems to be a restriction for underwriting purposes and so satisfies the first limb of section 11.

In order for section 11 to save the claim, the insured must satisfy the second limb. This requires the insured to prove (not the insurer) that on the balance of probabilities (more likely than not) the excluded circumstance (not living at a home as defined) did NOT cause or contribute towards the loss.

June 2023

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