Code of Virginia

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Code of Virginia
Title 38.2. Insurance
Chapter 21. Fire Insurance Policies
12/8/2021

Chapter 21. Fire Insurance Policies.

§ 38.2-2100. Application of chapter.

This chapter applies only to contracts or policies of fire insurance, and contracts or policies of fire insurance in combination with other insurance coverages.

1986, c. 562.

§ 38.2-2101. Policies shall conform to provisions of this chapter.

No insurance policy or contract on any property in this Commonwealth shall be issued or delivered in this Commonwealth unless the policy or contract meets the requirements of this chapter.

Code 1950, § 38-177; 1952, c. 317, § 38.1-363; 1986, c. 562.

§ 38.2-2102. Excluding loss or damage caused by nuclear reaction, nuclear radiation, or radioactive contamination.

A. The standard policy of fire insurance prescribed by this chapter shall not cover loss or damage caused by nuclear reaction, nuclear radiation, or radioactive contamination, whether resulting directly or indirectly from a peril insured under the policy. Insurers issuing the standard policy of fire insurance are authorized to affix to the policy or include therein a written statement that the policy does not cover loss or damage caused by nuclear reaction, nuclear radiation, or radioactive contamination, whether resulting directly or indirectly from a peril insured under the policy. However, an endorsement or endorsements specifically assuming coverage for loss or damage caused by nuclear reaction, nuclear radiation, or radioactive contamination may be attached to the standard policy of fire insurance.

B. Notwithstanding the provisions of § 38.2-2105, for the purposes of commercial property and casualty insurance policies, the standard policy of fire insurance prescribed by this chapter shall not cover loss or damage caused by certified acts of terrorism as defined in the Terrorism Risk Insurance Act (15 U.S.C. § 6701) whether resulting directly or indirectly from a peril insured under the policy if the insured has refused coverage offered pursuant to the Terrorism Risk Insurance Act.

1960, c. 117, § 38.1-363.1; 1986, c. 562; 2003, c. 930.

§ 38.2-2103. Information to be printed on policy.

There shall be prominently printed on every policy issued on property in this Commonwealth (i) the name of the insurer issuing the policy, (ii) the location of the home office of the insurer, and (iii) a statement specifying whether the insurer is a stock company, a mutual company, a reciprocal insurer, or other form of insurer. If the policy is jointly issued by more than one insurer, the information shall be included for each insurer.

Code 1950, § 38-178; 1950, p. 993; 1952, c. 317, § 38.1-364; 1986, c. 562.

§ 38.2-2104. Standard insuring agreement for fire insurance policies.

A. Each policy shall provide space for listing amounts of insurance, rates, and premiums for the coverages provided in the policy and endorsements attached to the policy, and shall show the location of the agency and the name and location of the insurer issuing the policy. Except as provided in § 38.2-2107, each policy shall contain the following insuring agreement:

In consideration of the provisions and stipulations herein or added hereto and of the premium above specified, this Company for the term of ____________________ At 12:01 A.M. __________ At 12:01 A.M. __________ from __________ (Standard Time) to __________ (Standard Time) at location of property involved, to an amount not exceeding the
amount(s) above specified, does insure ______________________________ and legal representatives, to the extent of the actual cash value of the property at the time of loss, but not exceeding the amount which it would cost to repair or replace the property with material of like kind and quality within a reasonable time after such loss, without allowance for any increased cost of repair or reconstruction by reason of any ordinance or law regulating construction or repair, and without compensation for loss resulting from interruption of business or manufacture, nor in any event for more than the interest of the insured, against all direct loss by fire, lightning and by removal from premises endangered by the perils insured against in this policy, except as hereinafter provided, to the property described hereinafter while located or contained as described in this policy, or pro rata for five days at each proper place to which any of the property shall necessarily be removed for preservation from the perils insured against in this policy, but not elsewhere.

Assignment of this policy shall not be valid except with the written consent of this Company.

This policy is made and accepted subject to the foregoing provisions and stipulations and those hereinafter stated, which are hereby made a part of this policy, together with such other provisions, stipulations and agreements as may be added hereto, as provided in this policy.

B. No change shall be made in the sequence of the words and paragraphs of the insuring agreement except that additional matter relating to the coverage provided under the policy and supplemental contracts or extended coverage endorsements may be inserted following any paragraph. The additional matter shall not be inconsistent or in conflict with the standard provisions for policies set out in this chapter, and shall conform with other applicable laws relating to the regulation of fire insurance.

C. For the purpose of more accurate identification of the subject matter or more accurate reference to other provisions, substitutions may be made in the standard insuring agreement for the words "above specified," "hereinafter," or other similar terms; but no substitution shall be made if the purpose and intent of the contract is changed by the substitution.

Code 1950, §§ 38-186, 38-190; 1950, pp. 994, 995; 1952, c. 317, §§ 38.1-365, 38.1-367; 1986, c. 562.

§ 38.2-2105. Standard provisions, conditions, stipulations and agreements for such policies.

A. Except as provided in § 38.2-2107, each policy shall contain the following provisions, conditions, stipulations, and agreements:

a1Concealment,This entire policy shall be void, if whether
b2fraud.before or after a loss, the insured has wil-
c3
fully concealed or misrepresented any ma-
d4terial fact or circumstance concerning this insurance or the
e5subject thereof, or the interest of the insured therein, or in case
f6of any fraud or false swearing by the insured relating thereto.
g7UninsurableThis policy shall not cover accounts, bills,
h8andcurrency, deeds, evidences of debt, money or
i9excepted property.securities; nor, unless specifically named
j10
hereon in writing, bullion or manuscripts.
k11Perils notThis Company shall not be liable for loss by
l12included.fire or other perils insured against in this
m13

 

policy caused, directly or indirectly, by: (a)
n14enemy attack by armed forces, including action taken by mili-
o15tary, naval or air forces in resisting in actual or immediately
p16impending enemy attack; (b) invasion; (c) insurrection; (d)
q17rebellion; (e) revolution; (f) civil war; (g) usurped power;
r18(h) order of any civil authority except acts of destruction at the time
s19of and for the purpose of preventing the spread of fire, provided
t20that such fire did not originate from any of the perils excluded
u21by this policy; (i) neglect of the insured to use all reasonable
v22means to save and preserve the property at and after a loss, or
w23when the property is endangered by fire in neighboring prem-
x24ises; (j) nor shall this Company be liable for loss by theft.
y25Other Insurance.Other insurance may be prohibited or the
z26

 

amount of insurance may be limited by en-
aa27

 

dorsement attached hereto.
ab28Conditions suspending or restricting insurance. Unless other-
ac29wise provided in writing added hereto this Company shall not
ad30be liable for loss occurring
ae31(a) While the hazard is increased by any means within the
af32control or knowledge of the insured; or
ag33(b) while a described building, whether intended for occupancy
ah34by owner or tenant, is vacant or unoccupied beyond a period of
ai35sixty consecutive days; or
aj36(c) as a result of explosion or riot, unless fire ensue, and in
ak37that event for loss by fire only.
al38Other perilsAny other peril to be insured against or sub-
am39or subjects.ject of insurance to be covered in this policy
an40

 

shall be by endorsement by writing hereon or
ao41added hereto.
ap42Added provisions.The extent of the application of insurance
aq43

 

under this policy and of the contribution to
ar44be made by this Company in case of loss, and any other pro-
as45vision or agreement not inconsistent with the provisions of this
at46policy, may be provided for in writing added hereto, but no pro-
au47vision may be waived except such as by the terms of this policy
av48is subject to change.
aw49WaiverNo permission affecting this insurance shall
ax50provisions.exist, or waiver of any provision be valid,
ay51

 

unless granted herein or expressed in writing
az52added hereto. No provision, stipulation or forfeiture shall be
ba53held to be waived by any requirement or proceeding on the part
bb54of this Company relating to appraisal or to any examination
bc55provided for herein.
bd56CancellationThis policy shall be cancelled at any time
be57of policy.at the request of insured, in which case
bf58

 

this Company shall, upon demand and sur-
bg59render of this policy, refund the excess of paid premium above
bh60the customary short rates for the expired time. This pol-
bi61icy may be cancelled at any time by this Company by giving
bj62to the insured a five days' written notice of cancellation with
bk63or without tender of the excess of paid premium above the pro
bl64rata premium for the expired time, which excess, if not ten-
bm65dered, shall be refunded on demand. Notice of cancellation shall
bn66state that said excess premium (if not tendered) will be
bo67refunded on demand.
bp68MortgageeIf loss hereunder is made payable in whole
bq69interests andor in part, to a designated mortgagee not
br70obligations.named herein as the insured, such interest in
bs71

 

this policy may be cancelled by giving to such
bt72

 

mortgagee a ten days' written notice of can-
bu73cellation.
bv74If the insured fails to render proof of loss such mortgagee, upon
bw75notice, shall render proof of loss in the form herein specified
bx76within sixty (60) days thereafter and shall be subject to the pro-
by77visions hereof relating to appraisal and time of payment and of
bz78bringing suit. If this Company shall claim that no liability ex-
ca79isted as to the mortgagor or owner, it shall, to the extent of pay-
cb80ment of loss to the mortgagee, be subrogated to all mort-
cc81gagee's rights of recovery, but without impairing mortgagee's
cd82right to sue; or it may pay off the mortgage debt and require
ce83an assignment thereof and of the mortgage. Other provisions
cf84relating to the interest and obligations of such mortgagee may
cg85be added hereto by agreement in writing.
ch86 Pro rata liability.This Company shall not be liable for a greater
ci87

 

proportion of any loss than the amount
cj88hereby insured shall bear to the whole insurance covering the
ck89property against the peril involved, whether collectible or not.
cl90Requirements inThe insured shall give immediate written
cm91case loss occurs. notice to this Company of any loss, protect
cn92

 

the property from further damage, forthwith
co93separate the damaged and undamaged personal property, put
cp94it in the best possible order, and furnish a complete inventory
cq95of the destroyed or damaged property setting forth for each item,
cr96or by category if itemization is not reasonably practicable,
cs97the amount of loss claimed. The Company may, in addition,
ct98require the insured to furnish a complete inventory of
cu99the destroyed, damaged and undamaged property, showing in
cv100detail quantities, costs, actual cash value and amount of loss
cw101claimed; and within sixty days after the loss, unless such time
cx102is extended in writing by this Company, the insured shall render
cy103to this Company a proof of loss, signed and sworn to by the
cz104insured, stating the knowledge and belief of the insured as to
da105the following: the time and origin of the loss, the interest of the
db106insured and of all others in the property, the actual cash value of
dc107each item thereof and the amount of loss thereto, all encum-
dd108brances thereon, all other contracts of insurance, whether valid
de109or not, covering any of said property, any changes in the title,
df110use, occupation, location, possession or exposures of said prop-
dg111erty since the issuing of this policy, by whom and for what
dh112purpose any building herein described and the several parts
di113thereof were occupied at the time of loss and whether or not it
dj114then stood on leased ground, and shall furnish a copy of all the
dk115descriptions and schedules in all policies and, if required, verified
dl116plans and specifications of any building, fixtures or machinery
dm117destroyed or damaged. The insured, as often as may be reason-
dn118ably required, shall exhibit to any person designated by this
do119Company all that remains of any property herein described, and
dp120submit to examinations under oath by any person named by this
dq121Company, and subscribe the same; and, as often as may be
dr122reasonably required, shall produce for examination all books of
ds123account, bills, invoices and other vouchers, or certified copies
dt124thereof if originals be lost, at such reasonable time and place as
du125may be designated by this Company or its representative, and
dv126shall permit extracts and copies thereof to be made.
dw127Appraisal.In case the insured and this Company shall
dx128

 

fail to agree as to the actual cash value or
dy129the amount of loss, then, on the written demand of either, each
dz130shall select a competent and disinterested appraiser and notify
ea131the other of the appraiser selected within twenty days of such
eb132demand. The appraisers shall first select a competent and dis-
ec133interested umpire; and failing for fifteen days to agree upon
ed134such umpire, then, on request of the insured or this Company,
ee135such umpire shall be selected by a judge of a court of record in
ef136the state in which the property covered is located. The ap-
eg137praisers shall then appraise the loss, stating separately actual
eh138cash value and loss to each item; and, failing to agree, shall
ei139submit their differences, only, to the umpire. An award in writ-
ej140ing, so itemized, of any two when filed with this Company shall
ek141determine the amount of actual cash value and loss. Each
el142appraiser shall be paid by the party selecting him and the ex-
em143penses of appraisal and umpire shall be paid by the parties
en144equally; provided, however, if the written demand is made by this
eo145Company, then the insured shall be reimbursed by this Company for
ep146the reasonable cost of the insured's appraiser and the insured's
eq147portion of the cost of the umpire.
er148Company'sIt shall be optional with this Company to
es149options.take all, or any part, of the property at the
et150

 

agreed or appraised value, and also to re-
eu151pair, rebuild or replace the property destroyed or damaged with
ev152other of like kind and quality within a reasonable time, on giv-
ew153ing notice of its intention so to do within thirty days after the
ex154receipt of the proof of loss herein required.
ey155Abandonment.There can be no abandonment to this Com-
ez156

 

pany of any property.
fa157When lossThe amount of loss for which this Company
fb158payable.may be liable shall be payable sixty days
fc159

 

after proof of loss, as herein provided, is
fd160received by this Company and ascertainment of the loss is made
fe161either by agreement between the insured and this Company ex-
ff162pressed in writing or by the filing with this Company of an
fg163award as herein provided.
fh164Suit.No suit or action on this policy for the recov-
fi165

 

ery of any claim shall be sustainable in any
fj166court of law or equity unless all the requirements of this policy
fk167shall have been complied with, and unless commenced within
fl168two years next after inception of the loss.
fm169Subrogation.This Company may require from the insured
fn170

 

an assignment of all right of recovery against
fo171any party for loss to the extent that payment therefor is made
fp172by this Company.

B. No change shall be made in the sequence of the words and paragraphs of the standard provisions, conditions, stipulations and agreements prescribed by this section, or in the arrangement of the words into lines. The numbers given the lines in the standard form and the catch words placed at the beginning of the paragraphs shall be retained.

Code 1950, § 38-186; 1950, p. 994; 1952, c. 317, § 38.1-366; 1972, c. 115; 1979, c. 458; 1986, c. 562.

§ 38.2-2106. Standard form for execution of policies.

Except as provided in § 38.2-2107, each policy shall contain the following clause, which shall be used in executing and attesting the policy:

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, this Company has executed and attested these presents

Immediately following the execution clause a space shall be left for the signature of the officer or officers of the company authorized to sign the policy.

Code 1950, § 38-186; 1950, p. 994; 1952, c. 317, § 38.1-367; 1986, c. 562.

§ 38.2-2107. Commission may establish guidelines for filing readable fire insurance policy forms.

A. The Commission may establish guidelines for the filing of simplified and readable policies of insurance. An insurer may issue a simplified and readable policy of insurance that deviates in language from the standard policy form provided for in §§ 38.2-2104, 38.2-2105, and 38.2-2106 if the deviating policy form is (i) in no respect less favorable to the insured than the standard policy form, and is (ii) approved by the Commission prior to issuance.

B. Notwithstanding the pro rata liability provision included in § 38.2-2105, such simplified and readable policies or endorsements may be issued to apply on an excess basis if such provisions are clearly stated in the policy form or endorsement.

1977, c. 255, § 38.1-367.1; 1979, c. 176; 1986, c. 562; 2003, c. 930; 2013, c. 12.

§ 38.2-2108. Standards for content of fire insurance policies.

A. The Commission may establish standards for the content of any policy or any rider, endorsement or other supplemental agreement or provision for use in connection with any policy written to insure owner-occupied dwellings which is to be issued or delivered in this Commonwealth.

B. Following adoption of the standards of content and notwithstanding the provisions of §§ 38.2-2104, 38.2-2105 and 38.2-2106, no insurer shall issue or renew any policy or any rider, endorsement, or other supplemental agreement or provision for use in connection with any policy written to insure owner-occupied dwellings unless the policy form has been filed with the Commission. The Commission shall determine whether the policy form meets the standards of content and is in compliance with any other statutory requirements.

C. Nothing in this section prevents an insurer from issuing policies with coverages, terms and conditions which are broader and more favorable to the insured than the standards established by the Commission. The language, style and format of the coverages, terms and conditions shall be consistent with the language, style and format of the entire policy form.

1979, c. 457, § 38.1-367.2; 1986, c. 562.

§ 38.2-2108.1. Commercial fire insurance policies; changes to amount of coverage.

No insurer shall, after a new or renewal contract or policy of fire insurance or fire insurance in combination with other coverage that has been issued or delivered in the Commonwealth to insure commercial property located in the Commonwealth has been in effect for 60 days, initiate and issue any endorsement to the contract or policy that increases or decreases the amount of coverage on such property unless the first named insured has consented in writing to such proposed change in the amount of coverage.

2019, c. 693.

§ 38.2-2109. Execution of policies.

The policy shall be executed by the proper officers of the insurer or insurers, whose signatures on the policy may be in facsimile.

Code 1950, § 38-179; 1950, p. 993; 1952, c. 317, § 38.1-368; 1977, c. 313; 1986, c. 562.

§ 38.2-2110. Other matter permitted in the policy.

The policy may contain information on the insurer, its officers and agents, the agent issuing the policy, the amount of insurance for each peril covered, the premium for each peril, and any other relevant matter not inconsistent or in conflict with the standard provisions for policies prescribed by this chapter.

Code 1950, §§ 38-184, 38-185, 38-190; 1950, pp. 994, 995; 1952, c. 317, § 38.1-369; 1986, c. 562.

§ 38.2-2111. Special regulations to be added to policy.

If the policy is issued by any insurer having special regulations for the payment of assessments by the insured, the regulations shall be printed upon and made a part of the policy. If the policy is issued by an insurer having other regulations appropriate to or required by its form of organization, those other regulations shall be either (i) written or printed upon the policy or (ii) attached to the policy by endorsement.

Code 1950, §§ 38-180, 38-513; 1952, c. 317, § 38.1-370; 1986, c. 562.

§ 38.2-2112. Temporary insurance contracts; duration; what deemed to include.

A. Oral or written binders or other temporary insurance contracts may be made and used for a period not exceeding sixty days pending the issuance of the policy, and shall be deemed to include all agreements and provisions set out in §§ 38.2-2104 and 38.2-2105 and all applicable endorsements designated in the temporary insurance contract. Unless otherwise expressly provided, the contract shall be deemed to include the usual provisions, stipulations and agreements which are commonly used in this Commonwealth in effecting the insurance.

B. No temporary insurance contract shall include any provision or agreement which is inconsistent with or waives any provision, stipulation, agreement or condition required by § 38.2-2104 or § 38.2-2105. However, the cancellation provision and the provision fixing the hour of inception may be superseded by the express terms of the temporary insurance contract.

Code 1950, § 38-181; 1952, c. 317, § 38.1-371; 1986, c. 562.

§ 38.2-2113. Mailing or electronic delivery of notice of cancellation or refusal to renew.

A. No written notice of cancellation of or refusal to renew a policy written to insure owner-occupied dwellings shall be effective when mailed or delivered electronically by an insurer unless the insurer complies with the applicable provisions of subdivisions 1, 2, and 3:

1. If the notice is mailed, proof of mailing a notice of cancellation or refusal to renew shall be obtained using one of the following methods that demonstrates the date that the notice was sent to the named insured at the address stated in the policy or to the named insured's last known address:

a. The notice is sent by:

(1) Registered mail;

(2) Certified mail; or

(3) Any other similar first-class mail tracking method used or approved by the United States Postal Service, including Intelligent Mail barcode Tracing (IMb Tracing); or

b. The notice is sent by another method of mailing for which a certificate of mailing is obtained from the United States Postal Service at the time the notice is accepted for mailing. A certificate of mailing from the United States Postal Service does not include a certificate of bulk mailing.

2. If the notice is delivered electronically, the insurer retains evidence of electronic transmittal or receipt of the notification for at least one year from the date of the transmittal.

3. If the notice is mailed, the insurer retains a copy of the notice of cancellation or refusal to renew for at least one year from the date such action was effective. If the notice is mailed, proof of mailing from the United States Postal Service consistent with the mailing method utilized by the insurer shall be maintained for one year from the date the cancellation or nonrenewal notice is effective.

B. This section shall not apply to policies written through the Virginia Property Insurance Association or any other residual market facility established pursuant to Chapter 27 (§ 38.2-2700 et seq.) of this title.

C. 1. If the terms of the policy require the notice of cancellation or refusal to renew to be given to any lienholder, then the insurer shall mail such notice and retain a copy of the notice in the manner required by subsection A. If the notices sent to the insured and the lienholder are part of the same form, the insurer may retain a single copy of the notice. Proof of mailing from the United States Postal Service consistent with the mailing method utilized by the insurer shall be maintained for one year from the date the cancellation or nonrenewal notice is effective.

2. Notwithstanding the provisions of subdivision 1, if the terms of the policy require the notice of cancellation or refusal to renew to be given to any lienholder, the insurer and lienholder may agree by separate agreement that such notices may be transmitted electronically, provided that the insurer and lienholder agree upon the specifics for transmittal and acknowledgment of notification. Evidence of transmittal or receipt of the notification required by this subsection shall be retained by the insurer for at least one year from the date of termination.

D. "Copy," as used in this section, includes photographs, microphotographs, photostats, microfilm, microcard, printouts, or other reproductions of electronically stored data or copies from optical disks, electronically transmitted facsimiles, or any other reproduction of an original from a process that forms a durable medium for its recording, storing, and reproducing.

1972, c. 110, § 38.1-371.1; 1983, c. 371; 1986, c. 562; 1992, c. 160; 2000, c. 529; 2003, c. 387; 2009, c. 215; 2013, c. 257; 2015, cc. 9, 443; 2016, cc. 4, 71.

§ 38.2-2114. Grounds and procedure for termination of policy; contents of notice; review by Commissioner; exceptions; immunity from liability.

A. Notwithstanding the provisions of § 38.2-2105, no policy or contract written to insure owner-occupied dwellings shall be canceled by an insurer unless written notice is mailed or delivered to the named insured at the address stated in the policy, or is delivered electronically to the address provided by the named insured, and cancellation is for one of the following reasons:

1. Failure to pay the premium when due;

2. Conviction of a crime arising out of acts increasing the probability that a peril insured against will occur;

3. Discovery of fraud or material misrepresentation;

4. Willful or reckless acts or omissions increasing the probability that a peril insured against will occur as determined from a physical inspection of the insured premises;

5. Physical changes in the property which result in the property becoming uninsurable as determined from a physical inspection of the insured premises; or

6. Foreclosure efforts by the secured party against the subject property covered by the policy that have resulted in the sale of the property by a trustee under a deed of trust as duly recorded in the land title records of the jurisdiction in which the property is located.

B. No policy or contract written to insure owner-occupied dwellings shall be terminated by an insurer by refusal to renew except at the expiration of the stated policy period or term and unless the insurer or its agent acting on behalf of the insurer mails or delivers to the named insured, at the address stated in the policy, or delivers electronically to the address provided by the named insured, written notice of the insurer's refusal to renew the policy or contract.

C. A written notice of cancellation of or refusal to renew a policy or contract written to insure owner-occupied dwellings shall:

1. State the date that the insurer proposes to terminate the policy or contract, which shall be at least 30 days after mailing or delivering to the named insured the notice of cancellation or refusal to renew. However, when the policy is being terminated for the reason set forth in subdivision A 1, the date that the insurer proposes to terminate the policy may be less than 30 days but at least 10 days from the date of mailing or delivery;

2. State the specific reason for terminating the policy or contract and provide for the notification required by the provisions of §§ 38.2-608 and 38.2-609 and subsection B of § 38.2-610. However, those notification requirements shall not apply when the policy is being canceled or not renewed for the reason set forth in subdivision A 1;

3. Advise the insured that within 10 days of receipt of the notice of termination he may request in writing that the Commissioner review the action of the insurer in terminating the policy or contract;

4. Advise the insured of his possible eligibility for fire insurance coverage through the Virginia Property Insurance Association; and

5. Be in a type size authorized by § 38.2-311.

D. Within 10 days of receipt of the notice of termination any insured or his attorney shall be entitled to request in writing to the Commissioner that he review the action of the insurer in terminating a policy or contract written to insure owner-occupied dwellings. Upon receipt of the request, the Commissioner shall promptly initiate a review to determine whether the insurer's cancellation or refusal to renew complies with the requirements of this section and of § 38.2-2113, if sent by mail or delivered electronically. The policy shall remain in full force and effect during the pendency of the review by the Commissioner except where the cancellation or refusal to renew is for reason of nonpayment of premium, in which case the policy shall terminate as of the date stated in the notice. Where the Commissioner finds from the review that the cancellation or refusal to renew has not complied with the requirements of this section or of § 38.2-2113, if sent by mail or delivered electronically, he shall immediately notify the insurer, the insured, and any other person to whom notice of cancellation or refusal to renew was required to be given by the terms of the policy that the cancellation or refusal to renew is not effective. Nothing in this section authorizes the Commissioner to substitute his judgment as to underwriting for that of the insurer.

E. Nothing in this section shall apply:

1. To any policy written to insure owner-occupied dwellings that has been in effect for less than 90 days when the notice of termination is mailed or delivered to the insured, unless it is a renewal policy;

2. If the insurer or its agent acting on behalf of the insurer has manifested its willingness to renew by issuing or offering to issue a renewal policy, certificate or other evidence of renewal, or has otherwise manifested its willingness to renew in writing to the insured. The written manifestation shall include the name of a proposed insurer, the expiration date of the policy, the type of insurance coverage, and information regarding the estimated renewal premium;

3. If the named insured or his duly constituted attorney-in-fact has notified the insurer or its agent orally, or in writing, if the insurer requires such notification to be in writing, that he wishes the policy to be canceled, or that he does not wish the policy to be renewed, or if, prior to the date of expiration, he fails to accept the offer of the insurer to renew the policy;

4. To any contract or policy written through the Virginia Property Insurance Association or any residual market facility established pursuant to Chapter 27 (§ 38.2-2700 et seq.); or

5. If an affiliated insurer has manifested its willingness to provide coverage at a lower premium than would have been charged for the same exposures on the expiring policy. The affiliated insurer shall manifest its willingness to provide coverage by issuing a policy with the types and limits of coverage at least equal to those contained in the expiring policy unless the named insured has requested a change in coverage or limits. When such offer is made by an affiliated insurer, an offer of renewal shall not be required of the insurer of the expiring policy, and the policy issued by the affiliated insurer shall be deemed to be a renewal policy.

F. Each insurer shall maintain, for at least one year, records of cancellation and refusal to renew and copies of every notice or statement referred to in subsection E that it sends to any of its insureds.

G. There shall be no liability on the part of and no cause of action of any nature shall arise against the Commissioner or his subordinates; any insurer, its authorized representative, its agents, or its employees; or any firm, person or corporation furnishing to the insurer information as to reasons for cancellation or refusal to renew, for any statement made by any of them in complying with this section or for providing information pertaining to the cancellation or refusal to renew.

H. Nothing in this section requires an insurer to renew a policy written to insure owner-occupied dwellings, if the insured does not conform to the occupational or membership requirements of an insurer who limits its writings to an occupation or membership of an organization.

I. No insurer or agent shall refuse to renew a policy written to insure an owner-occupied dwelling, solely because of any one or more of the following factors:

1. Age;

2. Sex;

3. Residence;

4. Race;

5. Color;

6. Creed;

7. National origin;

8. Ancestry;

9. Marital status;

10. Sexual orientation;

11. Gender identity;

12. Lawful occupation, including the military service; however, nothing in this subsection shall require any insurer to renew a policy for an insured where the insured's occupation has changed so as to increase materially the risk;

13. Credit information contained in a "consumer report," as defined in the federal Fair Credit Reporting Act, 15 U.S.C. § 1681 et seq., bearing on a natural person's creditworthiness, credit standing or credit capacity. If credit information is used, in part, as the basis for the nonrenewal, such credit information shall be based on a consumer report procured within 120 days from the effective date of the nonrenewal;

14. Any claim resulting primarily from natural causes;

15. One or more claims that were incurred more than 60 months immediately prior to the expiration of the current policy period; or

16. Any inquiry from an insured about his insurance coverage or policy provisions. For purposes of this subdivision, "inquiry" means a written or oral communication by an insured seeking information regarding coverage or policy provisions that does not notify the insurer of a loss, incident or accident, and that does not provide information indicating an increase in the hazard insured against. An insurer shall not report any inquiry as a claim to a loss history database maintained by a consumer reporting agency or insurance support organization.

Nothing in this section prohibits any insurer from setting rates in accordance with relevant actuarial data.

J. No insurer shall cancel or refuse to renew a policy written to insure an owner-occupied dwelling because an insured under the policy is a foster parent and foster children reside at the insured dwelling.

1972, c. 110, § 38.1-371.2; 1975, c. 350; 1978, c. 441; 1983, c. 371; 1986, c. 562; 1990, c. 293; 1995, c. 3; 1996, c. 237; 1998, c. 142; 2003, cc. 543, 553; 2004, c. 300; 2005, c. 872; 2008, cc. 58, 221; 2009, cc. 215, 442; 2013, c. 257; 2020, c. 1137.

§ 38.2-2114.1. Powers of Commission; replacement policies.

Upon the verified petition of an insurer, where the petitioning insurer proposes to replace all or substantially all of its policies in another insurer, the Commission may relieve the insurer of the requirements of subsections B and C of § 38.2-2114 and of the mailing requirements of § 38.2-2113; provided the insurer demonstrates to the satisfaction of the Commission that (i) the replacement policy is underwritten by an affiliate insurer under common control with the petitioning insurer; (ii) the replacement policy is substantially similar to the existing policy with the petitioning insurer; (iii) the premium charged for the replacement policy is no greater than that charged by the petitioning insurer for the existing policy; and (iv) the replacement insurer is duly licensed to transact the business of insurance in the Commonwealth of Virginia. The replacement insurer shall retain a copy of any offer of replacement for a period of one year from the expiration of any existing policy that is not replaced. The Commission may further condition any such relief to protect the best interests of the policyholder.

1991, c. 292.

§ 38.2-2115. Discrimination in issuance of fire insurance.

No insurer or agent shall refuse to issue a policy solely because of any one or more of the following factors: the age, sex, residence, race, color, creed, national origin, ancestry, marital status, sexual orientation, gender identity, or lawful occupation, including the military service, of the person seeking insurance. Nothing in this section prohibits any insurer from limiting the issuance of policies to those who are residents of this Commonwealth, nor does it prohibit any insurer from limiting the issuance of policies only to persons engaging in or who have engaged in a particular profession or occupation, or who are members of a particular religious sect. Nothing in this section prohibits any insurer from setting rates in accordance with relevant actuarial data.

1986, c. 562; 2020, c. 1137.

§ 38.2-2116. Policies issued by two or more insurers.

A. With the consent of the Commission, two or more licensed insurers may jointly issue a policy, using a distinctive title that is prominently printed on the policy followed by the names and the home office addresses of the insurers obligated under the policy. The policy shall be executed by the proper officers of each insurer. Before issuance, the form and any terms of the policy that are in addition to the standard provisions set out in §§ 38.2-2104 and 38.2-2105 shall be approved by the Commission. The terms of the policy shall not be inconsistent with the standard provisions, and shall be placed under a separate title headed as follows: "Provisions specially applicable to this jointly issued policy." The special provisions shall contain in substance that:

1. The insurers executing the policy are severally liable for the full amount of any loss or damage according to the terms of the policy or for specified percentages or amounts of any loss or damage aggregating the full amount of insurance under the policy; and

2. Service of process upon, or notice of proof of loss required by the policy and given to any of the insurers executing the policy, shall be deemed to be service upon or notice to all such insurers.

B. The unearned premium reserve on each policy shall be allocated to each insurer on the basis of each insurer's pro rata share of the face amount of the policy, except to the extent that the risk is transferred under a valid contract of reinsurance.

Code 1950, § 38-183; 1952, c. 317, § 38.1-372; 1986, c. 562.

§ 38.2-2117. Approval of forms or provisions for additional coverage.

The Commission may approve and authorize the use of appropriate forms or provisions contained in supplemental contracts or extended coverage endorsements used in connection with policies on property in this Commonwealth to provide coverage for one or more perils in addition to the perils covered by the standard insuring agreement and standard provisions prescribed in this chapter.

Code 1950, § 38-190; 1950, p. 995; 1952, c. 317, § 38.1-373; 1986, c. 562.

§ 38.2-2118. Required statement on insurance policies for owner-occupied dwellings.

Each insurer writing insurance on owner-occupied dwellings and appurtenant structures with a replacement cost provision under the provisions of Chapter 19 (§ 38.2-1900 et seq.) shall provide on each new and renewal policy a statement summarizing (i) any minimum coverage requirement necessary for the replacement cost provision to be fully effective and (ii) the effect on claim payment of not meeting the minimum coverage requirement.

1977, c. 530, § 38.1-279.49:1; 1986, c. 562; 2016, c. 558.

§ 38.2-2119. Approval of forms or provisions for certain risks.

A. The Commission may approve and authorize the use of appropriate forms or provisions for supplemental contracts or extended coverage endorsements where the insured may be indemnified for (i) the difference between the actual cash value of the property at the time of loss and the cost of repair or replacement of the property on the same site with new materials of like kind and quality, within a reasonable time after the loss, and without deduction for depreciation, (ii) additional cost or loss by reason of any ordinance or law in force at the time of loss which necessitates the demolition of any portion of the insured property, (iii) any increased cost of repair or replacement by reason of any ordinance or law regulating construction or repair of the insured building, and (iv) loss from interruption of business, untenantability, or termination of leasehold interest because of damage to or destruction of the property described in the policy. These forms or provisions shall apply to coverage provided to an insured having any interest in an insured building or structure which is a part of the building described in the policy, including service equipment for the building.

B. Where any policy of insurance issued or delivered in this Commonwealth pursuant to this chapter provides for the payment of the full replacement cost of property insured thereunder, the policy shall permit the insured to assert a claim for the actual cash value of the property without prejudice to his right to thereafter assert a claim for the difference between the actual cash value and the full replacement cost unless a claim for full replacement cost has been previously resolved. Any claim for such difference must be made within six months of (i) the last date on which the insured received a payment for actual cash value or (ii) date of entry of a final order of a court of competent jurisdiction declaratory of the right of the insured to full replacement cost, whichever shall last occur.

C. Notwithstanding the provisions of § 38.2-2104, insurers may offer, as an option, coverage limited to the amount necessary to repair or replace damaged property with functionally equivalent property at a lower cost than would be required to repair or replace the damaged property with material of like kind and quality. Such policies may also permit, at the option of the insured, settlement based on the market value of the damaged property at the time of loss. No new policy of insurance covering property insured on a functional replacement cost basis shall be issued or delivered in the Commonwealth unless the following statement, printed in boldface type, is enclosed with the policy:

Important Notice

The coverage under this policy applies on a functional replacement cost basis which means that, under certain conditions, claims may be settled for less than the actual cash value of the property insured.

Code 1950, § 38-190; 1950, p. 995; 1952, c. 317, § 38.1-374; 1986, c. 562; 1992, c. 762; 1996, c. 373; 2016, c. 558.

§ 38.2-2120. Optional coverage to be offered with homeowner's policy.

Any insurer who issues or delivers a new or renewal homeowner's insurance policy in this Commonwealth shall offer as an option a provision insuring against loss caused or resulting from water which backs up through sewers or drains.

1974, c. 564, § 38.1-335.2; 1986, c. 562; 2016, c. 558.

§ 38.2-2121. When courts may appoint umpires.

Whenever appraisers selected under the standard provisions for fire insurance policies set out in § 38.2-2105 fail for fifteen days to agree upon a person to serve as umpire, the insured or the insurer may apply in writing, for the appointment of an umpire, to the judge of the circuit court of the county or city in which the damaged or destroyed property was located at the time of loss. If the application is filed by the insured, a copy of the application shall first be delivered to a registered agent of the insurer. If the application is filed by the insurer, a copy of the application shall first be delivered to the insured. Upon showing, by affidavit or otherwise, the failure or neglect of the appraisers to agree upon and select an umpire within the time specified in the policy, the judge shall upon twenty-one days' notice to all parties appoint a competent and disinterested person to serve as umpire in determining the amount of loss or damage sustained.

Code 1950, § 38-172; 1952, c. 317, § 38.1-375; 1986, c. 562; 1992, c. 470.

§ 38.2-2122. Appraisers and umpire to be citizens of Virginia; oath to be taken.

Whenever any appraisal is to be made under the standard provisions of a policy for loss or damage to property, the appraisers and the umpire shall be citizens and actual residents of this Commonwealth unless otherwise agreed to in writing by the insured and the insurer. Each appraiser and umpire shall, before acting as such, take an oath that he is not directly or indirectly in the employment of the insured, the insurer or any other insurer, that he is not related to the insured or any officer of the insurer, and that he will faithfully discharge the duties imposed upon him.

Code 1950, §§ 38-173, 38-174; 1952, c. 317, § 38.1-376; 1986, c. 562.

§ 38.2-2123. Chapter not applicable to certain mutual insurers.

This chapter shall not apply to mutual assessment property and casualty insurers, or to mutual insurers and associations organized under the laws of this Commonwealth, conducting business only in this Commonwealth, and issuing only policies providing for perpetual insurance.

Code 1950, §§ 38-182, 38-183, 38-193; 1952, c. 317, § 38.1-378; 1960, c. 293; 1986, c. 562.

§ 38.2-2124. Optional coverage to be offered with fire insurance policy.

Any insurer that issues or delivers in this Commonwealth a new or renewal contract or policy of fire insurance, or a new or renewal contract or policy of fire insurance in combination with other insurance coverages, shall offer in writing as an option a provision that property will be repaired or replaced in accordance with applicable ordinances or laws that regulate construction, repair or demolition.

1993, c. 156.

§ 38.2-2125. Notice regarding flood exclusion.

Any insurer that issues or delivers in this Commonwealth a new or renewal contract or policy of fire insurance, or a new or renewal contract or policy of fire insurance in combination with other insurance coverages, which policy or contract excludes coverage for damage due to flood, surface water, waves, tidal water, or any other overflow of a body of water, shall provide written notice that (i) explicitly states that flood coverage is excluded; (ii) states that information regarding flood insurance is available from the insurer, insurance agent or the National Flood Insurance Program; and (iii) advises the policyholder that contents coverage may be available with the flood policy for an additional premium.

2000, c. 401; 2004, c. 288.

§ 38.2-2126. Insurance credit score disclosure; use of credit information.

A. Any insurer issuing or delivering a policy written to insure an owner-occupied dwelling or the personal property of a tenant's residential property risk that uses credit information contained in a consumer report for underwriting, tier placement or rating an applicant or insured, shall meet the following requirements:

1. Disclose, either on the insurance application or at the time the insurance application is taken (i) that it shall obtain credit information in connection with such application; (ii) that the insured may request that his credit information be updated; and (iii) that, if the insured questions the accuracy of the credit information, the insurer will, upon request of the insured, reevaluate the insured based on corrected credit information from a consumer reporting agency. The disclosure may be made by the insurer or its agent. Such disclosure shall be either written or provided to an applicant in the same medium as the application for insurance. The insurer need not provide the disclosure required under this subsection to any insured on a renewal policy if such insured has previously been provided a disclosure. Use of the following example disclosure constitutes compliance with this subsection: "In connection with this application for insurance, we shall review your credit report or obtain or use an insurance credit score based on the information contained in that credit report. We may use a third party in connection with the development of your insurance credit score. You may request that your credit information be updated and if you question the accuracy of the credit information, we will, upon your request, reevaluate you based on corrected credit information from a consumer reporting agency."

2. If an insurer takes an adverse action, based in whole or in part, upon credit information, the insurer shall provide notice to the applicant or insured that the adverse action was based, in whole or in part, on credit information. Such notice shall also either include a statement advising the applicant or insured of the primary factors or characteristics that were used as the basis for the adverse action, or notify the applicant or insured that he may request such information. For the purposes of this section, adverse action means a denial, nonrenewal or cancellation of, an increase in any charge for or refusal to apply a discount, or placement in a less favorable tier, or a reduction or other adverse or unfavorable change in the terms of coverage or amount of, any insurance, existing or applied for, in connection with the underwriting, tier placement or rating of insurance based on the applicant's or insured's credit information. Adverse action includes circumstances where due to his credit information the applicant or insured (i) receives a higher rate, (ii) is placed in a less favorable tier, and (iii) when there are multiple companies available within a group of insurers, receives coverage in a less favorably priced company of the group. Notice is required when the effect of the credit information would put the applicant or insured in a worse position than if the credit information had not been considered. In the case of renewals, the circumstances listed in clauses (i), (ii), and (iii) shall not be deemed adverse actions if, due to the insured's credit information, the insured is not receiving a less favorable rate or placed in a less favorable tier or company than during the policy period immediately preceding renewal.

B. If an insurer uses credit information from a consumer report for tier placement or rating of its renewal business for a policy insuring an owner-occupied dwelling or the personal property of a tenant's residential property risk, the insurer shall be required to update the credit information at least once every three years, provided, however, that the insurer shall be required to update an insured's credit information within the three-year period if requested by the insured. If an update request is made by the insured at least 45 days prior to the end of the policy term, any adjustment to the premium required by the update of the insured's credit information shall take effect at the first renewal following the request for update of the insured's credit information. If an update request is made by the insured within 45 days of the end of the policy term, the insurer shall have the option of applying any adjustment to the premium required by the update of the insured's credit information to the first renewal or the second renewal following the request for update of the insured's credit information. An insurer need not update the credit information more frequently than once every policy term. Notwithstanding the requirements of this subsection, no insurer need obtain updated credit information if the insured has the most favorably priced tier or rate based on his credit information.

C. Notwithstanding the provisions of subdivision A 3 of § 38.2-1904, if an insurer issuing or delivering a policy to insure an owner-occupied dwelling or the personal property of a tenant's residential property risk is unable to obtain credit information from a consumer report or when an insured or applicant has insufficient credit to produce an insurance credit score, the insurer shall underwrite, tier, or rate the individual risk in one of the following ways: (i) as if the risk received a neutral or average insurance credit score, as defined by the insurer, (ii) by excluding the use of credit information as a factor and using only other underwriting, tiering, or rating criteria, or (iii) in accordance with established underwriting guidelines or filed tiering or rating rules. Any such established underwriting guidelines or filed tiering or rating rules shall consider other actuarially justified factors associated with the risk in addition to the inability to obtain credit information or the insufficiency of the credit information.

D. The following factors shall not be used as credit criteria or to determine an insurance credit score for underwriting, tier placement, or rating purposes for a policy insuring an owner-occupied dwelling or the personal property of a tenant's residential property risk:

1. Information that has been identified by the consumer reporting agency as disputed by the consumer and coded as such, if the use of such disputed information would result in an adverse action;

2. Information that has been identified by the consumer reporting agency as related to insurance inquiries or nonconsumer-initiated inquiries and coded as such;

3. Information that has been identified by the consumer reporting agency as related to collection accounts with a medical industry code;

4. Information that includes multiple lender inquiries, if coded by the consumer reporting agency as being from the home mortgage industry and made within 30 days of one another, unless only one inquiry is considered;

5. Information that includes multiple lender inquiries, if coded by the consumer reporting agency as being from the automobile lending industry and made within 30 days of one another, unless only one inquiry is considered;

6. Income, gender, address, zip code, ethnic group, race, color, religion, marital status, or nationality of the consumer; or

7. The total available line of credit; however, an insurer may consider the total amount of outstanding debt in relation to the total available line of credit.

E. No insurer shall take an adverse action against an applicant for a policy insuring an owner-occupied dwelling or the personal property of a tenant's residential property risk based on credit information, unless an insurer obtains and uses a consumer report procured within 90 days from the date the policy is first written.

F. Notwithstanding anything to the contrary, for a policy insuring an owner-occupied dwelling or the personal property of a tenant's residential property risk, an insurer may, upon request, provide reasonable exceptions for an individual whose credit information is directly and adversely impacted by a catastrophic event, as determined by the insurer, including catastrophic illness or injury or the death of a spouse or member of the same household. The insurer may require reasonable documentation of the event prior to granting an exception. No insurer shall be deemed out of compliance with its filed rules and rates as a result of granting an exception pursuant to this subsection.

G. Upon the request of an insured or applicant with a policy insuring an owner-occupied dwelling or the personal property of a tenant's residential property risk for a reevaluation as set forth in this section, the insurer shall reevaluate the individual based on corrected credit information from a consumer reporting agency. If the reevaluation results in a lower premium, the lower premium shall be applied retroactively to the effective date of the current policy term, and the insurer shall either refund or credit the amount to the insured. The insurer may require reasonable documentation of the corrected information from the consumer reporting agency prior to the reevaluation.

H. An insurer shall indemnify, defend, and hold agents harmless from and against all liability, fees, and costs arising out of or relating to the actions, errors, or omissions of an agent who obtains or uses credit information or insurance credit scores for an insurer, provided the agent follows the instructions or procedures established by the insurer and complies with any applicable law. Nothing in this subsection shall be construed to provide an applicant or insured with a cause of action that does not exist in the absence of this subsection.

I. No consumer reporting agency shall provide or sell data or lists that include any information that in whole or in part was submitted in conjunction with an insurance inquiry about an individual's credit information or a request for a consumer report or an insurance credit score. Such information includes the expiration dates of an insurance policy or any other information that may identify time periods during which an individual's insurance may expire and the terms and conditions of the individual's insurance coverage. The restrictions provided in this subsection do not apply to data or lists the consumer reporting agency supplies to the insurance agent from whom information was received or the insurer on whose behalf such agent acted. Nothing in this subsection shall be construed to restrict any insurer from being able to obtain a claims history report or a motor vehicle report.

J. For the purposes of this section, "insurance credit score" means a number or rating that is derived from an algorithm, computer application, model, or other process that is based in whole or in part on credit information for the purposes of predicting the future insurance loss exposure of an individual applicant or insured for a policy insuring an owner-occupied dwelling or the personal property of a tenant's residential property risk.

2003, cc. 543, 553; 2019, c. 704.

§ 38.2-2127. Notice of change in deductible.

Whenever an insurer unilaterally changes the deductible under a policy written to insure an owner-occupied dwelling, the insurer shall provide a written notice that (i) explicitly states that the deductible has changed and (ii) explains how the new deductible will be applied. Nothing in this section shall allow an insurer to change a deductible except at renewal. This section shall apply to all policies renewed in the Commonwealth on or after October 1, 2004.

2004, c. 745.

§ 38.2-2128. Certain exclusions permitted.

Notwithstanding the provisions of § 38.2-2108, any insurer that issues or delivers in the Commonwealth a new or renewal policy written to insure an owner-occupied dwelling may, with the named insured's written consent, exclude from coverage any liability resulting from an injury caused by a dangerous or vicious animal owned by or in the care, custody, or control of the insured if such animal has bitten, attacked, or inflicted injury on a person or a companion animal. Such risk shall be specifically identified in the exclusion. Uniform policy forms or endorsements that will be used by the insurer for such exclusions shall be filed with the Commission pursuant to § 38.2-317 and shall contain a disclosure stating that the named insured has agreed to the specified risk being excluded under the policy. The insured's execution of the document evidencing his consent thereto shall be acknowledged before a notary public or witnessed by a disinterested person. Such signed exclusions, evidence of the insured's consent, and the insurer's documentation substantiating the reason for the exclusion shall be made available to the Commission upon request. Upon completion of the notarized or witnessed signed exclusion, the insurer shall not be required to obtain the insured's written consent for any subsequent policy renewals.

2004, c. 751.

§ 38.2-2129. Notice regarding earthquake exclusion.

Any insurer that issues or delivers in the Commonwealth a new or renewal contract or policy of fire insurance, or a new or renewal contract or policy of fire insurance in combination with other insurance coverages, which policy or contract excludes coverage for damage due to earthquake shall provide written notice that (i) explicitly states that "earthquake coverage is excluded unless purchased by endorsement" and (ii) if such coverage is otherwise available from the insurer, states that information regarding earthquake insurance is available from the insurer or the insurance agent.

2012, cc. 235, 346.

§ 38.2-2130. Coverage for volunteer fire department costs.

Every insurer writing a fire policy or fire policy in combination with other insurance coverages shall provide coverage for the cost charged by a volunteer fire department that is not fully funded by real estate taxes or other property taxes for service charges where the fire department is called in to save or protect property insured under such policy from a peril insured against. The limit of such coverage shall be no less than $250. Higher coverage limits may be offered by an insurer for an additional premium. Any bill for such service charges shall be sent to the owner of the property for which the services were rendered. The amount billed shall not exceed the limit of such coverage. This coverage shall not apply to service charges made in response to a call outside of the volunteer fire department's fire protection district, city, or municipality pursuant to a contract.

2012, cc. 371, 561.