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A skunk sprays the inside of an automobile.

1) Is it a covered loss?
2) Is there “damage”?
3) Is the air inside a vehicle covered property?
I meant “Auto” claim. I’ve had this issue before when someone poisoned mice in their garage and the mice died inside the car body. Obviously the odor is in the air. There’s no physical damage to the car. And the air technically isn’t insured property. But we felt a judge would frown on this argument. So it was paid.

1 Thought on Homeowners insurance claim coverage question for agents or adjusters #2.?
  1. Reply
    May 16, 2013 at 3:36 am

    **OK. I’ve been had. NO coverage under the homeowners policy, AT ALL, for physical damage to your car. My fault for not reading carefully.**

    But, if it was a car insurance policy:

    Fun question. I’m going to hit these one at a time, although obviously there’s going to be overlap.

    1. Depends on the policy form and the coverages elected. Obviously, or maybe not, you’d need to have “comprehensive” coverage on the policy. However, I’ve seen the coverage written two different ways; one, where ANYTHING that’s sudden and accidental, and not excluded, and not “collision or upset”, is covered under Comprehensive. I’ve also seen comprehensive DEFINED as, damage by missles or falling objects, fire, theft, larceny, explosion or earthquake, windstorm, hail, water, flood, malicious mischief, vandalism, riot, civil commotion, contact with a bird or animal, glass breakage.

    Now, there’s an arguement that “contact with a bird or animal” could apply, but generally, the physical contact between the skunk’s body and the car, isn’t what actually CAUSED the damage. So depending on how the policy is worded, comp may, or may not, actually cover it. One thing to keep in mind – policy forms that exclude damage done by rodents, well, a skunk IS a rodent. Not a mouse, but still covered by the exclusion.

    2. is there damage? Well, sort of. Yes, the perfume would have come into contact with upholstery of the car. But let me tell you a little story. I used to have a little program for DRYCLEANERS. So one day, this drycleaner I insured, in the BOSTON area of all places, had their door open because it was hot, and a skunk wandered in, and of course, SPRAYED EVERYTHING. Big problem? Well, not so much. See, that skunky smell naturally dissipates down to about NOTHING, within three days. So there was an issue of customers not getting their clothes back on time, and about three garments that ended up with an actual stain that never came out. So TEMPORARY damage isn’t really damage, is there. Is there a stain on the upholstery? Of course, the absolute WORST thing you could probably do is shut up the car . .. but roll down the windows, and just wait.

    3. This one is perfectly clear – no. You cannot sell the air, you cannot move the air, and that particular batch of air is NOT part of the car. So the air is NOT covered property.

    Now, is this hypothetical, or real?

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