Many people in Florida run businesses out of their homes. With the proliferation of Internet accessibility and e-commerce driving a significant portion of our economy, scores of at-home businesses come into being every day. Other work-from-home businesses such as childcare are also prominent. The home-based business owner must beware that your homeowner’s policy contain various exclusions, one of which is a clause excluding coverage for people who operate a business out of their home. The prohibition comes into effect when a third party suffers injuries while by the homeowner, or someone covered under their policy, during the business-based activities. The homeowners insurance attorneys at Greenberg, Stone, & Urbano want people to understand that their homeowner’s insurance policy might exclude coverage for injuries that occur during business conducted in the home.
As Miami’s preeminent homeowner’s insurance attorneys we have seen insurance companies try to deny extending coverage to incidents that happen in the home. Take the case of Landis v. Allstate Ins. Co. While this instance might be factually different than most we see, the principle of law announced in the court’s decision is an important one. Any person considering running a business from their home should consider this ruling in determining whether their homeowner’s policy provides sufficient insurance coverage.
In Landis, the homeowners ran a day care for children out of their home. The homeowners obtained the appropriate licenses from the State of Florida to run the business. During the course of operating the day care, the homeowners committed sexual battery on some of the children. A jury convicted the homeowners for the crime. Victims’ families brought a lawsuit against the convicted sexual batterers. Their homeowner’s insurance carrier, Allstate, filed a case in court asking a judge to determine the company’s rights and responsibilities that fell under the insurance policy in question.
A trial judge ruled that Allstate was not responsible to the homeowners to provide coverage. The policy in question contained a “business pursuit clause.” A business pursuit clause states that the insurance company will not provide coverage for injuries to third parties that arise from the operation of the business. The policy in question does cover all non-business activities and related injuries and will provide some coverage for a home-based business for a student 21 years of age or younger operated on a part-time basis (such as a teenager mowing the neighbor’s lawns).
The policy gave “business” a very specific meaning. Under the insurance contract, business means “any full or part-time trade, profession, or occupation and the use of any part of the premises for such purpose.” The plaintiffs argued that the homeowners were not engaged in the business of child molestation and therefore the business pursuit exclusion should not apply. The court disagreed. The court stated that the homeowners’ failure to properly supervise children, which then lead to the sexual battery, was directly connected to the business. Therefore, the court ruled that Allstate did not have an obligation to cover the injuries.
It is important to note why the plaintiffs in the case argued that Allstate must cover the damages. The plaintiffs were not the homeowners; they were the victims’ families. The victims’ families had every right to sue the homeowners, but they were probably judgment proof. Allstate had the money to compensate the victims for their horrible injuries.
Miami Homeowners Insurance Attorneys Have the Experience You Need
If you or a loved one were injured in the home of another person, or someone else suffered an injury in your home, and the homeowner’s insurance company refuses to cover the damages, contact the Miami homeowners insurance law firm of Greenberg, Stone, & Urbano. Together, they have over 130 years of experience fighting for the rights of others. The Miami Herald gave them a top rating for a reason: they get results. Call the firm Martindale Hubbell rated AV for their service and success at (888) 499-9700 or (305) 595-2400 today to schedule a free consultation.