Monday, June 18, 2012

Supreme Court ruling provides recovery for diminished value under homeowners insurance policies

The Georgia Supreme Court recently ruled in favor of a property insurance customer that had sought compensation not only for the cost of repairing its property, but also for the amount by which the property's value was permanently decreased as a result of the repairs. In Royal Capital Development LLC v. Maryland Cas. Co., decided May 29, 2012, the Supreme Court extended a prior ruling and held that insurers providing first-party insurance, which includes homeowners insurance, are required to compensate policyholders for what is sometimes called "stigma" damages, or a decrease in value based solely on the fact that the property has been damaged in the past.

Previously, the Supreme Court had ruled, in State Farm Mut. Auto. Ins. Co. v. Mabry, 274 Ga. 498 (2001), that automobile insurers are required to compensate auto owners for the diminution in value to their automobiles in addition to the vehicle repair cost. In the case of vehicles, it is often the case that the vehicle's value is lowered simply by virtue of it having been in an accident, even if the repair work is done perfectly. Such repairs can show up in databases easily accessible to anyone looking to purchase the car. That reasoning now applies to homeowners insurance claims as well, providing an additional source of recovery for insurance policy holders and more of a means for them to be made whole for the damages they have sustained.

The latest decision is Royal Capital Development LLC v. Maryland Cas. Co., Supreme Court Case No. S12Q0209, ___ S.E.2d ___, 2012 WL 1909842 (Ga. May 29, 2012). It may be accessed on the Supreme Court web site here.

Our firm has extensive experience in insurance company litigation. We previously represented insurance companies in state and federal litigation, but now represent individual insureds seeking to obtain the coverage they have paid for from their insurer. We believe that this recent Supreme Court ruling may well Please call us if you wish to talk about your homeowners or automobile claim.

No comments:

Post a Comment