Failure to disclose a wood stove may void home insurance

20. December 2010 0

Insureds denied coverage following fire loss for failure to disclose the existence of a wood-burning furnace to the insurer.

Jackson v. Canadian Northern Shield Insurance Co., [2010] B.C.J. No. 2113, October 29, 2010, British Columbia Supreme Court, T.R. Brooke J.

The plaintiff insureds commenced an action against the defendant insurer in relation to a fire which destroyed the insureds’ barn and greenhouse and their contents. The outbuildings had been recently constructed. It was ultimately determined that the origin of the fire was a wood-burning furnace which had been installed two weeks earlier. Accordingly, the insurer denied coverage on the basis that the insureds had not disclosed the existence of the furnace to the insurer.

The insureds conceded they had not advised the insurer that they had installed the wood-burning furnace. The insurer defended the action on the basis that the installation of the wood-burning furnace was a change material to the risk within the control and knowledge of the insureds and that the insureds failed to give prompt or any notice to the insurer or its agent prior to the loss. The court agreed with the insurer’s position and dismissed the insureds’ claim.

This case was digested by Cameron B. Elder and edited by David W. Pilley of Harper Grey LLP.

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