Relatives/occupants of home owned by named insured are not members of insured's "household" under homeowner's insurance policy.

Alert Category: Illinois

Alert Type: Insurance

In State Farm Fire and Cas. Co. v. Martinez, 2008 WL 3189608 (Ill.App. 1 Dist.), the Illinois Appellate Court held that the occupants of a home, and owners of a dog which bit a child, were not entitled to coverage under the homeowners insurance policy issued to the named insureds and owners of the home, because they were not members of the named insured’s household. Although the named insureds held legal title to the home where the child was bitten by the dog, the home was actually occupied by the owners of the dog, who were relatives of the named insureds. At no time did the named insureds themselves actually reside in the home, or intend to do so, as they had only agreed to take title in order to assist the owners of the dog in purchasing the home because of the dog owners’ poor credit history. Because the named insureds resided at a different address, the Court held that the home’s occupants did not qualify as members of the named insureds’ household, so that the insurer had no duty to defend or indemnify the home’s occupants under the policy.