There is little in the way of firm guidance about when a home ceases to be a residence. (Photo: iStock)

In courts across New York, homeowners find themselves litigating the most intimate details of their lives — where they sleep, who they live with, how they cook their dinner — all in the name of insurance.

More specifically, in the name of the “residence” or “dwelling” provision in their homeowners’ policies, which insurance companies increasingly contend limit the homes eligible for coverage to those homes in which the insured “resides.” In this article, we examine how courts have addressed this almost existential question. We further argue that insurers’ unwillingness to settle on a consistent — or even articulable — definition of the term has been a double-edged sword, at once providing for disclaimers over a broad swath of behavior but also planting the seeds of defeat.

Want to continue reading?
Become a Free
PropertyCasualty360 Digital Reader.


  • All news coverage, best practices, and in-depth analysis.
  • Educational webcasts, resources from industry leaders, and informative newsletters.
  • Other award-winning websites including and

Already have an account?


Complex Claims & Litigation Forum 2023Event

Aimed to help Insurers prevent, prepare and prevail In adjudicating complex claims, negotiating settlements and winning cases.

Get More Information


Join PropertyCasualty360

Don’t miss crucial news and insights you need to make informed decisions for your P&C insurance business. Join now!

  • Unlimited access to - your roadmap to thriving in a disrupted environment
  • Access to other award-winning ALM websites including, and
  • Exclusive discounts on PropertyCasualty360, National Underwriter, Claims and ALM events

Already have an account? Sign In Now
Join PropertyCasualty360

Copyright © 2022 ALM Global, LLC. All Rights Reserved.