The owner of a condominium sued State Farm Florida for not paying a claim she submitted due to the damage done to one of the units. At the trial court level, the judge agreed with the insurance company that the property damage was not covered. On appeal by the condominium owner, the Fourth District Court of Appeals agreed with the trial court.
Court documents reveal that the woman died in the condo and, sadly, went undiscovered for a long period of time until neighbors complained about the smell coming from the unit. While her body lay in the condo, it ruptured. Bodily fluids leached into the ceiling and walls. It was necessary to gut the unit in order to repair the damage and remove the smell.
The owner filed a claim with State Farm Florida and alleges they failed to pay her all of the money she was due. State Farm denied her claim because a decomposing body is not covered under her policy. The insurance company further denied her claim because — according to the company — she failed to provide a sworn proof of loss within the time allotted by her policy (60 days).
Many Florida residents may find it unusual that property damage done by a decomposing corpse would have to be specifically listed as a covered peril in an insurance policy. It might make sense to require additional insurance for calamities such as hurricanes, floods and tornadoes because they are a foreseeable risk of living in certain areas like Florida. However, many people believe insurance is supposed to cover other unforeseen events such as this. In the event that it does not and a dispute breaks out, consumers do have certain legal options they may be able to pursue regarding the denied insurance benefits.