When Rain Falls, Insurance Companies Should Listen: Determining “Weather” an Insurance Policy’s Exclusion or Inclusion of Property in the Open Refers to Property Simply Left Outside or Property Exposed to the Elements
Jones, Marcus Jackson
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This Article explores the meaning of "in the open" in the context of insurance policy interpretation. This issue, which has been addressed by several state and federal courts, has existed for over forty years. This Article explores the possibility that the misinterpretation of this phrase exists solely because courts have employed the wrong part of speech. For example, insurance policies generally prohibit coverage for property destroyed while "in the open" – the noun part of speech. Hence, in these policies, "in the open" is used to signify a location. However, courts have chosen to interpret the insurance policies as prohibiting coverage for "open" property – the adjective part of speech. This Article argues this interpretation is misplaced. Additionally, the Article concludes that courts should use the noun part of speech and find that "in the open" refers to property simply left outside, irrespective of whether it is protected or unprotected from the elements.