Main Line Homes Blog


Why you need to keep your insurance coverage in place till settlement!

Recently the night before Memorial Day I woke to the sound of an engine groaning up the hill outside my home. Not expecting my garbage to be collected on Memorial Day I had not put it out. The room was fairly light and without looking at my clock I thought they are coming and sprang out of bed to grab the trash and get it to the curb before I missed them. But...I was greeted instead by a fire engine lights flashing coming up the hill outside my home, as i looked along the road I was greeted by this...

                                  fire trucks

No wonder it was bright in my room. As I walked along the road I wondered whose home was in trouble. We had had a severe storm that night with thunder and lightning right over our neighborhood that shook our home. We had a home that was for sale on our road, it had been bought by a builder and completely rehabbed and extended. It was also under contract and one of the fire police said it was this home that had caught fire. As I reached the home I could see firemen from five different companies fighting a fire that had engulfed the whole house.

                                Berwyn fire                                            house alight

Standing watching I realized the owners were right there and as we talked and offered them condolences they mentioned that the house was sold, which I knew, but that it was supposed to settle in two days time. What happens now they asked. Not being their agent I said they needed to call the agent right away and this was covered in the agreement of sale. It seemed that a lightning strike hit a tree travelled underground and hit the electrical line going into the house causing a fire in the basement whcih caught the wood floors and by the time anyone saw it the fire had completely engulfed the home. It was so hot the siding on the home next door melted and the garage doors buckled.

So what does the PA Agreement of Sale say happens in this case. Paragraph 21 covers Maintenance & Loss of Risk. Sub-paragraph A covers that the seller will maintain the property and grounds in the present condition, normal wear and tear excepted. Sub-paragraph B covers if any appliance or sytem fails. Sub-paragraph C is the important one in this instance; Seller bears the risk of loss from fire or other casualties until settlement. If any property included in this sale is destroyed and not replaced, Buyer will: (1) Accept the property in its then current condition together with the proceeds of any insurance recovery obtainable by Seller, OR (2) Terminate this Agreement by written notice to Seller, with all deposit monies returned to Buyer according to the terms of paragraph 30 of this Agreement.

What happened, I do not know, but remember to make sure your insurance coverage goes right up to and even beyond settlement in case some event causes the settlement to be delayed, postponed or an event like this even voided.

All that was left was a small piece of the front wall in front of the garage, everything else was consumed by the fire.


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