I’m the owner of a property in Lahaina, the town that was devastated by the Maui Wildfire in August. My property, a townhouse, is still standing, but there is smoke damages to the interior, which requires deep cleaning for the wall, carpet and furniture, such as the sofa and mattresses. Although the HOA insurance covers the structure/wall/carpet, the coverage for personal contents, such as sofa and mattresses fall on the owner’s own insurance. Our homeowner insurance carrier, Liberty Mutual, insists that we, the owners, did not select the “Endorsement for Rental” when we bought the insurance for the unit, and refused to cover our personal contents. We purchased this furniture for our own use long before we rented the property. Currently, we wish Liberty Mutual could at least cover the cleaning fee for furniture, such as sofa and mattresses. However, Liberty Mutual does not want to provide any coverage for this. Do you know how we should handle the situation? Thanks.
It seems logical to us that as long as the sofa and mattresses belonged to you, and you paid a premium for coverage for that unit, it should not matter that the unit was rented out at the time of the loss. The place would have been damaged regardless of whether or not you were living there – renting it out did not increase the risk of loss. The Hawaii Insurance Division can review the specific wording in your policy and hopefully help you negotiate a fair outcome with the insurer. https://cca.hawaii.gov/ins/consumers/filing_a_complaint/