"I am a volunteer firefighter
rescuer in addition to my bread work as an electrician. I have been
deposed in one such case. The homeowner had finished his basement with
paneling that was mounted directly on the studs. The electrical work;
though it is a stretch to call it that; was done in 1&1/2" deep low
voltage device boxes that held replacement only two wire receptacles,
supplied via zip cord. A basement upright freezer that was plugged in
using an adapter was the origin of the fire. Since the cause of the
fire was listed in the fire service cause and origin report as
improperly executed electrical work the insurance carrier inquired as
who had done the work. The basement was listed on the insurance
documents as unfinished so the home owner was told he would have to
identify the installer so that the insurer could pursue the installer
recover the loss. When the home owner finally admitted that he had
the work himself The insurer refused the claim. After depositions,
including mine, were taken in the home owners suite against the insurer
his attorney informed him his case was unwinnable and he had to eat
loss. Yes that is only one case but I'm only one firefighter so there
must be a few such cases.
Tom Horne "
Interesting story. Which raises the question of how obviously
incorrect the work that started the fire must be and what other
circumstances must be present for the insurance company to refuse to
pay the claim. And even the insurance company refusing to pay, even if
the insurance company is wrong, is bad enough. Say a fire did $50K in
damage. A homeowner would have little recourse, because trying to sue
the insurance company could easily cost that much, without any
guarantee of winning.
It sounds like in the case you cited, the circumstances and obvious
hack work done were sufficient for the insurance company to prevail. I
just wonder if the insurance companies have ever used this to screw
someone, where the circumstances were not as clear and the homeowner
wasn't the one really responsible for causing the fire.