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Homeowners' claim rejected when cleaning complications are deemed a new claim requiring notice

Jeff and Cindy Brittingham purchased homeowners' coverage with Michigan Insurance Company.  They suffered a flooding loss on July 8, 2008.  The employed a company named ServPro to clean their ducts work and on Jluy 24, it sprayed an anti-microbial that caused the family to suffer illness.  They were forced to leave the home for a period and made a claim against their insurer.  While it was undisputed that the insurer was on notice of the claim, it argued that a new notice was required with regard to spraying the antimicrobial. 

The Court ultimately agreed and held that since more than one year passed before the family sent a written notice regarding their intent to claim damages relating to vacating the home during the anti-microbial treatment, they could not collect for those damages. 

The pertinent Michigan statute requires home insurers to include a policy provision that "tolls" (or extends) the statute of limitation from the date of notice until a claim is formally denied, and the Michigan Insurance Company policy did not include this provision.  The Court then incoporated the statutory language into the policy, however, since it deemed that a notice of the "new" claim had never been given in writing, it held that the tolling period did not apply and the claim was filed too late.

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