The Connecticut Insurance Department has approved, effective March 1, 2016, an Insurance Services Office Inc. multistate filing, which revises its homeowners program coverage forms to add more explicit language to the definition of “residence premises.” This is important because Coverage A–Dwellings; Coverage B–Other Structures; Coverage D–Loss of Use; and some of Coverage C–Personal Property and Section II–Liability Coverages are only applicable to the “residence premises” as defined in the policy. In short, the current definition of “residence premises” has two conditions: 1) it must be the dwelling “where you reside” (“you” is the named insured); and 2) it must be described on the declarations. Only owner-occupants are eligible for dwelling coverage on a homeowners policy. If the dwelling is not occupied by the owner, then a dwelling policy should be written.
Litigation over the phrase “where you reside,” has occurred after a claim when the owner is not occupying the home at the time. There are reasons for not occupying the home besides material misrepresentation when a homeowners policy was requested, including the following: The owner may be in a nursing home or recently is deceased; or has moved into a newly purchased home and is waiting for the old home to be sold; or the owner may have purchased the home to occupy, but is unable to move into it for months because of renovations or delays in executing an employer relocation plan. A separation or divorce may occur in which the named insured owner moves out, leaving the nonowner spouse, who is not a named insured, to occupy the home. Additionally, a child may live in the parent’s home or the parents may live in a child’s home.
Be sure to check with your insurance agent to see if, and when, your insurance company plans to adopt these rules. For more information on these recent ISO changes, click here.