An example of an exclusion that we’ve fought more than once relates to a freeze loss in your house with piping (it gets pretty cold here in Reno). A lot of these homeowner’s policies have where they say “we have an exclusion for freeze losses, and we don’t cover frozen pipes,” and then they qualify the exclusion saying “unless you maintained the plumbing or you shut off the water.” But the qualification on the exclusion only applies in instances where the house is vacant or unoccupied, and then they don’t define what vacant or unoccupied is.
Another common practice is when an insurance company uses an exclusion based off of a court’s interpretation of another policy’s language. For example, Insurance Company A has an exclusion that was interpreted by a court to say it was allowed to exclude a claim. The Insurance Company B, who has completely different wording in the exclusion will say their exclusion also applies, but they never take into account the difference of their language and what their insurance policy actually says.
That’s why it’s so important to have a knowledgeable insurance counsel in order to recognize the differences in how these policies are worded and to look at the case law and show how they were interpreting the language that is at issue in the insurance policy. Every policy is different and you’ll want to show it to an experienced insurance attorney as soon as you can.