A Florida appellate court held that an insured might recover lost rent damages as consequential damages even when the policy does not provide coverage for loss of rent damage. Manor House, LLC v. Citizens Prop. Ins. Corp., 44 Fla. L. Weekly D 1403, 2019 Fla. App. LEXIS 8460 (Fla. 5th DCA May 31, 2019).
An insured owned apartment buildings that were damaged. Undisputed payment was made to the insured, but the insured later requested a considerably larger amount. When the insurer did not make further payments, the insured demanded appraisal and then filed suit. The appraisal panel awarded the insured replacement cost value, which the insurers paid. The insured then filed a breach of contract lawsuit, in which the insured sought to recover extra-contractual damages for lost rent that it lost as a result of the delay in adjusting and paying the insured’s claim. The insurers filed a motion for summary judgment based on the fact that the policy provided for only property damage, not lost rent. The trial court granted the motion.
The appellate court reversed and remanded the question of lost rent as consequential damages. The appellate court focused on, not what the policy said, but the more general proposition that a party in a breach-of-contract suit is entitled to damages that would put it in the same position it would have been if the breach had not occurred. The appellate court opined that an insured should have the opportunity to prove consequential damages in the form of lost rent due to an insurer’s delay in adjustment. Accordingly, the appellate court held that the insured be allowed the opportunity to prove all consequential damages of the breach-of-contract dispute, including lost rent, even though the policy does not explicitly provide loss of rent coverage.