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Farm Bureau avoids homeowner obligation through fine print and delay

Gary Johnson insured his home with Farm Bureau.  He probably doesn't any longer.  He bought Farm Bureau "Country Estate" coverage which provided structure coverage for the out-buildings on his non-farm home. When a structure on the "estate" burned, Johnson made a claim for the fire loss of the building and its contents.  The building was worth more than the insured value of $50,000.00, so that amount was paid without dispute.  The outbuilding contained extensive materials Johnson had purchased and stored with an eye toward building a fence around the "estate."  Farm Bureau argued that its policy did not cover personal property stored in any outbuilding under "Country Estate" language, and that Johnson would have needed to purchase a farm policy to secure coverage for these materials and other personal property stored in the outbuilding.  The parties exchanged several letters arguing about the language of the policy, and Johnson did not sue Farm Bureau within 12 months of the insurer's initial denial of the personal property claim.  The court held that under the policy language, the statute of limitations had run and Johnson could not pursue any claim for insurance coverage of the fencing materials.

Thompson O’Neil, P.C.
309 East Front Street
Traverse City, Michigan 49684
Toll Free: 1-800-678-1307
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