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Corcoran v. Hartford Fire Insurance Co.

Decided: February 13, 1975.

ANDREW J. CORCORAN AND RUTH M. CORCORAN, HIS WIFE, PLAINTIFFS-RESPONDENTS,
v.
THE HARTFORD FIRE INSURANCE CO., A CONNECTICUT CORPORATION LICENSED TO DO BUSINESS IN NEW JERSEY, DEFENDANT-APPELLANT



Leonard, Seidman and Bischoff. The opinion of the court was delivered by Leonard, P.J.A.D.

Leonard

Defendant insurance company appeals from a judgment of $2000 damages, plus $500 counsel fee and $31.40 costs, entered against it in the county district court. Plaintiffs instituted suit on a homeowner's insurance policy to recover for the loss of a diamond ring.

Plaintiffs' policy with defendant was in effect for the period from November 4, 1969 to November 4, 1972. In addition to the basic homeowner's policy, plaintiffs also purchased from defendant, for an additional premium, an endorsement entitled "Extended Theft Coverage."

The following provisions of plaintiff's policy are pertinent to this appeal. On the face sheet the policy provided that under Section 1, Coverage C, "Unscheduled Personal Property," defendant's liability was limited to $20,000.

"Coverage C -- Unscheduled Personal Property" was defined as follows:

1. On premises: This policy covers unscheduled personal property usual or incidental to the occupancy of the premises as a dwelling, owned, worn or used by the Insured, while on the premises * * *.

Under "Perils Insured Against" there appeared the following definition:

11. Theft, meaning any act of stealing or attempt thereat * * *.

Upon knowledge of loss under this peril or of an occurrence which may give rise to a claim for such loss, the Insured shall give notice as soon as practicable to this Company or any of its authorized agents and also to the police.

The endorsement which plaintiff purchased modified this language, by providing:

Inclusion of Mysterious Disappearance: As respects only property covered under Coverage C, ยง 1, so much of the description of the peril of theft under the caption "Perils Insured Against" in the form attached to this policy, as reads:

"Theft, meaning any act of stealing or attempt thereat"

is amended to read:

"Theft, meaning any act of stealing or attempt thereat, or mysterious disappearance (except mysterious disappearance of a precious stone or semi-precious stone from its setting in any watch or piece of jewelry)."

Finally, under "Special Limits of Liability" the basic policy provided:

3. Under Coverage C, this Company shall not be liable in any one loss with respect to the following named property:

(d) by theft for more than $1000 on any single article of jewelry including * * * precious ...


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