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Insurers need to be precise when drafting exclusions, particularly when those exclusions concern animals. When an exclusion uses non-specific terms, those terms should be defined in the policy in order to prevent a suit like the one the Goldbergers brought against State Farm, the ICLC wrote. <i>(Credit: Vadim Zaitsev)</i> Insurers need to be precise when drafting exclusions, particularly when those exclusions concern animals. When an exclusion uses non-specific terms, those terms should be defined in the policy in order to prevent a suit like the one the Goldbergers brought against State Farm, the ICLC wrote. (Credit: Vadim Zaitsev)

The Arizona Court of Appeals has addressed the increasingly common language property insurers use in policies to preclude or limit the coverage for animals or damage caused by animals.

The Goldbergers were the owners of a residential rental property with an insurance policy for that property through State Farm Fire and Casualty Company (State Farm). The policy was a rental dwelling policy. The Goldbergers filed a claim for $75,000 worth of coverage after their tenant “allowed” feral cats to “access” the property and cause “accidental damage.” State Farm denied the claim, citing an exclusion in the policy for damage caused by “domestic animals.” The Goldbergers disagreed and sued State Farm, alleging breach of contract and insurance bad faith.

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