When you are dealing with a defect in construction that leaves your home or other property damaged — or causes bodily injury to someone on your property — then you might need to understand how and when coverage is triggered for any associated claim. This is true whether you are seeking compensation for damages under an insurance policy or a construction contract guarantee.
The trigger for coverage usually occurs when an injury happens or when the defect is first discovered. If one of these things occur when a policy is in effect or during the warranty period on construction work, then you might be able to seek compensation for the issues. Unfortunately, the law is not really black and white in this area, which means various courts interpret laws to mean different things in different situations.
While many courts do set the time of occurrence at the date upon which the property owner first discovered a defect, others look at when the property owner should have reasonably known about an issue. Still others place the time of occurrence at the date that the defect or damage actually occurred.
Knowing when a court might consider coverage triggered isn’t just important for understanding what insurance company or third party to seek compensation from. It also helps you understand what the statute of limitations is on any claim or lawsuit you might consider filing related to the damage or incident. Because the courts differ slightly on how they interpret these laws, it’s a good idea to work with a professional who understands the trends and tendencies of courts in your jurisdiction.
Source: PropertyCasualty360, “When is coverage triggered? There’s no clear answer,” Dave Thamann, May 18, 2016