Court "harmonizes" policy coverages and exclusions by eliminating coverage despite lack of evidence.
Lawrence and Laura Williams suffered water and mold damage in their basement when a storm knocked their power out. They argued that the damage--some $38,000.00 worth--should be covered under their homeowners' insurance policy with Home-Owners Insurance Company (a subsidiary of Auto Owners). Their policy covers related damage if it results from a storm-related power outage, so they thought they were set. The insurer pointed to another exclusion, however, that limited coverage to $5,000.00 if the damage was caused by a non-operating sump pump. The insurer argued that this provision "trumped" the coverage provision and the Court of Appeals agreed.
The Williams also objected that there was no direct proof to support the insurer's claim that the damage was caused by the sump pump stopping. The Court essentially held that no such direct proof was required.