It’s a variation on a story that we’ve heard before. The insured and his girlfriend had a party. Many are drunk, few are paying attention. Beer pong ensues, with what is apparently called the “Squanto Rule” in force.
If a ball overshoots the table without hitting anything and the opposing side can catch it, whoever catches the ball gets to throw it at the person who overshot the table. If they can hit that person in the face, their side loses a cup. Sort of makes sense, in terms of trying to keep people from just throwing air balls because they can.
The insured catches an air ball and without a second thought chucks it at the face of the person who threw it as hard as he can. The drunken thrower ducks, lurches backwards, and runs straight into a table holding several carved pumpkins with candles in them. The pumpkins go flying, and the candles go flying out of them directly into the floor-length curtains.
Cue panic mode. A sink full of dishes makes it difficult to get water to put out the small fire on the curtains, and the fire expands. With no fire extinguisher in the house (and questionable capacity to successfully operate one based on intoxication levels), the insured does the right thing and gets everyone out in a hurry. The home and contents are a total loss. Since he started the fire, will his Modesto renters insurance help him out and take care of the loss?
The fire was accidental and unintentional. The insured was negligent, as was his friend who knocked over the table that led to the fire, and to be honest the Squanto Rule is a stupid idea for a variety of other reasons – like putting someone’s eye out – but none of that is relevant.
Was there a loss? Sure sounds like it!
Was the cause of the loss a covered peril? You bet, fire is covered.
Was the loss sudden and accidental? Yep. Negligence of an insured does not negate that fact.
OK, so now that we know coverage is likely to be available, how will the policy help our suddenly very, very sober insured?
Since the event is due to the negligence of the insured and his friend, but primarily the insured (who threw the ball at the fact of the friend who knocked over the table) there’s coverage. The owner of the building will call his insurance company, who will pay for repairs to the building. The insured’s liability will pay the owner’s deductible, and the insured’s policy will sort things out with the owner’s policy so that the negligent party pays back the owner’s insurance out of the liability coverage. That’s all behind the scenes.
Had anyone been injured, there would be coverage. If someone was burned, or if someone fell and was injured trying to escape the inferno, Modesto renters insurance liability would be able to take care of it.
The insured lost everything in the fire, of course. Fires have a bad habit of that. What little isn’t charred is full of smoke, and there’s just no saving anything. That’s why the insured is fortunate to have California Renters Insurance with personal property coverage. That coverage will pay for the stuff that was lost in the fire, up to the policy limit. It’s usually subject to a small deductible, but that’s incidental. The insured is made whole by the policy.
Loss Of Use
The insured will need a place to stay. His policy will provide that, as well. Additional living expenses are covered under the policy, to make sure that the insured doesn’t suffer a loss because of it. All of these types of coverage are part of a standard renters insurance policy.
Why Did The Insured Do The Right Thing?
Every fire has a point where it can be stopped. That point is very early on, and it depends a great deal on what you have available to stop the fire with. Water wasn’t an option, and precious seconds were lost in discovering that fact. There was no fire extinguisher (Why???????). The insured was out of options, and had a house full of people.
Get the people out. Get yourself out. Renters insurance actually helps to protect life safety because it allows you to do the right thing. Protect yourself and other people, and let your insurance worry about the liability and the stuff in the home. It’s that simple.
If you’re able to put out a fire, that’s great, of course, but never place yourself in danger because you’re trying to save the building or your possessions. A fun party can quickly turn into a disaster, and that’s exactly why you have renters insurance.
You do have renters insurance, right?
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