Notifying Your Insurer of a Loss
Failure to promptly notify can result in devastating loss.

An insurance company issued a homeowner's policy to a married couple (the "Taylors") covering occurrences at their residence. The couple had two minor boys who lived with them. The policy provided coverage for any "occurrence," defined as bodily injury or property damage caused by an accident. The policy contained the following section regarding the providing of notice of potential claims to the insurer:

In case of an accident or occurrence, the insured will perform the following duties …

A. Give notice to us or our agent as soon as practicable setting forth:
  1. identity of the policy and insured;
  2. reasonably available information on the time, place and circumstances of the accident or occurrence; and
  3. names and addresses of any claimants and available witnesses.

Case study

Mrs. Taylor invited her sister and her family to live with them. The sister's five-year-old minor daughter (the "victim") had been sexually molested by a babysitter and the family wanted to move away from the home where the crime occurred. The sister's family eventually moved out of the home. Several years later, the victim informed her mother that she had been sexually molested by one of the Taylors' boys when they lived together. The sister threatened to sue the son, who was now an adult, but ultimately chose not to do so after the son agreed to pay the victim's counseling fees.

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