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Dana Horton is an insurance litigation attorney with over 15 years of experience representing and advising insurance companies in large loss property subrogation matters, property insurance coverage disputes, and bad faith claims. Her experience includes handling proceedings from inception through resolution in state, federal, and appellate courts. She is a member of the firm’s Insurance + Reinsurance Group.

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Many typical homeowner’s insurance policies contain an exclusion for damages as a result of freezing unless the homeowner uses “reasonable care” to maintain heat in the home. While this can be a fact-specific inquiry, the Third Circuit, applying Pennsylvania law, recently upheld a district court’s grant of summary judgment to an insurer, finding no issue of material fact. Jugan v. Econ. Premier Asur. Co., 2018 U.S. App. LEXIS 7218 (3d Cir. Mar. 12, 2018).

The Jugans reported a water loss to Met Life upon discovery in March 2015. The consultant retained by Met Life concluded that the cause of the water infiltration was due to a frozen dishwasher solenoid valve, which was due to insufficient heat within the home (attributed to the low setting found on the thermostat hot water baseboard heat). It was undisputed that outdoor temperatures in and around the date of discovery were sufficient to cause pipe system freeze ups. 
Continue Reading Freezing Exclusion: Third Circuit Affirms District Court’s Grant Of Summary Judgment To Insurer