Massachusetts Property Damage Claim v Insurer – Not Subject to Discovery Rule
November 16, 2015
Frozen pipe property damage claim against insurer governed by statute of limitations – discovery rule doesn’t apply
FACTS Building owner learned during a cold December that pipes froze and leaked water through the house. The insurer investigated for over one year and didn’t pay. The owner sued – more than two years after the loss occurred. Massachusetts property damage statute of limitations law requires that suits of that kind MGL c 175 §99 be commenced within two years of the loss.
The owner said when it discovered this loss in its building was a question of fact and that date should start the two year time limit.
Discovery rule does not apply to property damage claims under the statute. The 2015 Massachusetts Appeals Court case is Nurse v Omega US Insurance
Property insurance claims are governed by state law and by the contract. Since the statue goes into detail but does not suggest that any discovery requirement forgives late filing, the strict rule applies.
Insurers can take their time investigating claims. The claim for coverage has to be brought within the time limits under the statute no matter when the homeowner discovered the property loss.
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