Parks’ recent post about whether an insured has to rebuild at the same location in order to recover replacement cost got me thinking, and then researching. Here’s what I found:
Although none in Tennessee, there are a dozen or so cases across the country dealing with the issue of whether an insured has to rebuild at the same location in order to recover replacement cost. For example, in Hess v. N. Pac. Ins. Co., 859 P.2d 586 (Wash. 1993), the Supreme Court of Washington held that insureds are entitled to replace at an alternate location, but that the reimbursement amount is limited to the amount it would have cost to rebuild at the original location. Specifically, the court stated,
"This particular limitation does not require repair or replacement of an identical building on the same premises, but places that rebuilding amount as one of the measures of damage to apply in calculating liability under the replacement cost coverage. The effect of this limitation comes into play when the insured desires to rebuild either a different structure or on different premises. In those instances, the company’s liability is not to exceed what it would have cost to replace an identical structure to the one lost on the same premises. Although liability is limited to rebuilding costs on the same site, the insured may then take that amount and build a structure on another site, or use the proceeds to buy an existing structure as the replacement, but paying any additional amount from his or her own funds."
Several other courts have rendered similar decisions. See, e.g., Kumar v. Travelers Ins. Co., 211 A.D.2d 128 (N.Y. 1995) (holding that insurance provision offering to pay full cost to repair or replace damaged dwelling on the same premises merely established the limits of coverage and that replacement cost is limited to what it would cost to replace the damaged structure on the same premises, however, the insured is not required to replace the damaged dwelling on the same premises in order to recover replacement cost); Conway v. Farmers Home Mut. Ins. Co. , 26 Cal. App.4th 1185 (Cal. App. 1994 (“[W]hen the insured desires to rebuild either a different structure or on different premises . . . the company’s liability is not to exceed what it would have cost to replace an identical structure to the one lost on the same premises); S and S Tobacco and Candy Co., Inc. v. Greater New York Mutual Ins. Co., 617 A.2d 1388 (Conn. 1992) (holding that construction of replacement structure at different location constituted replacement under the policy).
So as much I hate to say it, Parks seems to have a lot of folks with "Judge" in front of their names who agree with him. And so I guess I agree as well.
Hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving!