Jewelry Policy

Grand Prairie insurance lawyers and those in Fort Worth, Dallas, Duncanville, Mesquite, Garland, Richardson, and other places in the Dallas and Fort Worth area will run across various types of insurance policies. The most common are automobile policies and homeowners insurance policies. But there are also life insurance policies, disability policies and credit policies. Those are all normal. But there are also types of policies you do not see very often. One type that is rarely seen is insurance that covers specialty items such as jewelry.
The San Antonio Court of Appeals had a case in 1996, that dealt with the theft of jewelry. The style of the case is, “Tivoli Corp. v. Jewelers Mutual Insurance Co.” Here is a brief discussion of the opinion.
Kessler, a jewelry salesman, was traveling between sales locations when he stopped at a check cashing business owned by a friend. Kessler parked his car in the parking lot and left $78,000.00 worth of jewelry in his trunk. He went inside, used the restroom and stood by a window with his friend in a secured area. Kessler then saw thieves taking the jewelry from his car’s trunk. He ran from the secured area through the lobby and attempted unsuccessfully to stop the thieves. The insured notified the agent of the theft and filed a proof of loss for the jewelry. Jewelers Mutual denied the claim stating that the jewelry was not in Kessler’s possession and that the unattended vehicle exclusion provision applied. This exclusion excluded coverage of jewelry in transit unless the property was at all times in the possession of the person transporting it or in a vehicle that was attended.
The insureds sued Jewelers Mutual and the agent claiming breach of contract, negligence, deceptive trade practices, Insurance Code violations and breach of duty of good faith. Summary judgment was granted in favor of Jewelers Mutual. The insureds appealed the decision.
This appeals court affirmed the summary judgment in favor of Jewelers Mutual. The Court said that although there was a lack of Texas case law on the issue, they were holding that the salesman did not have the jewelry in his possession at the time of the theft and the property was left in an unattended vehicle. Therefore, the summary judgment evidence established a lack of coverage and Jewelers Mutual correctly denied the claim as outside the scope of the policy. Because the extra-contractual, DTPA, Insurance Code and bad faith claims arose out of and were dependent on the insureds’ contention that Jewelers Mutual failed to pay the claim, the extra-contractual claims were also barred.
As was noted by the Court, there is not much case law for the Court to review against this backdrop of facts. That does not mean there was a necessity for a lot of case law. What is important is for people who have insurance that is of a specialized nature, for the insured to know what the policy covers and what the limitations of that coverage entails. Finding out the hard way that the facts do not provide coverage, is not the way to learn. Another thing to keep in mind … Whenever a claim is denied, talk with an experienced Insurance Law Attorney.