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Platek v. Town of Hamberg, 21

In this case, a subsurface water main ruptured, causing water to flood into and severely damage plaintiffs' home. Plaintiffs made a claim under their homeowners' insurance policy, which was issued by defendant Allstate. The insuring agreement excludes property damage caused by water, with an exception for certain sudden and accidental direct physical losses. Allstate disclaimed coverage based on item 4 of the policy's water loss exclusion. Judgment finding that both parties' interpretations of the policy were reasonable, that the policy was ambiguous, and that, therefore, the policy should be construed in favor of plaintiffs, is reversed, and summary judgment is entered in favor of Allstate, where: 1) the policy excludes water damage to plaintiffs' home from coverage unambiguously, and the exception does not nullify the water loss exclusion or render it ambiguous; 2) interpreting a policy excluding water loss to provide coverage for what is essentially a flood would subvert the intent of the parties; and 3) permitting coverage here would force Allstate to insure a loss it did not contemplate and had affirmatively excluded.

Appellate Information

  • Decided 02/19/2015
  • Published 02/19/2015


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  • Court of Appeals of New York


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