Can our renters’ insurer deny an expense claim because our landlord said they are going to evict us next month?

UPDATED: Oct 1, 2022

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Can our renters’ insurer deny an expense claim because our landlord said they are going to evict us next month?

We rent a house from my mom and my aunt but my aunt handles everything. There was a fire and we had to move. We have a renters’ insurance policy. Our policy covers relocation expenses. Our insurer called my aunt and my aunt said that we refused to let anyone fix the house, that minimal damage occurred, and the house was still liveable and that she is planning on giving us a 30 day notice. My mom, the other landlord, called our insurance company and said no that the home is not habitable. Our insurer said they don’t cover evictions but we haven’t been evicted yet. And, we should have been out of that house over a month ago, that is what my aunt’s own insurance company told my husband, the day after the fire triple a came out with their adjuster, contractor and electrician. The electrician said to the adjuster to call the Red Cross and get us out of there. Is it legal for our insurance to deny our expenses claim just because the landlord said they are going to evict us?

Asked on September 21, 2018 under Real Estate Law, California


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

An insurance policy is a contract: like with any other contract, it is enforced according to its plain terms. An intent to evict is NOT an eviction: if the policy only excludes relocation when you are evicted, if you move prior to the eviction being filed against you, they should cover, and you could sue them for breach of contract if they do not. On the other hand, if you wait until eviction is filed against you, they likely would have grounds to deny the claim.

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