Published in: Insurance Law Newsletter - 20.Dec.16 December 13, 2016

Case Summary: Perishable food items were included in coverage for losses caused by power outage when a tree fell on insured’s house

Insurance law – Homeowner’s insurance – Coverage – Exclusions – Motor vehicle; Evidence – Proof of loss

West v. Canadian Direct Insurance

An insured’s claim for food spoilage as a result of a power outage was covered under the policy of insurance, while the claim for damage to her motor vehicle and house trailer was not.

[2016] B.C.J. No. 2165

2016 BCSC 1903

British Columbia Supreme Court

October 17, 2016

L.D. Russell J.

A tree fell on an insured’s property, damaging a house, a motor vehicle, and a house trailer. The damage to the house resulted in a power outage, causing the insured’s perishable food to spoil. The plaintiff sued her insurer, which issued a homeowner’s policy to her for indemnity.

The court held that damage to the motor vehicle and house trailer was not covered under the policy. Such damage also fell within the motorized vehicle exclusion, which excluded coverage for motor vehicles and trailers. The defendant insurer’s argument that coverage for perishable foodstuffs was excluded on the basis of “inherent vice” was rejected, because there was no proof that the refrigerated food was already in a state of deterioration. A clause in the policy insuring personal property damaged by a “change of temperature” also supported coverage.

This case was digested by Kora Paciorek of Harper Grey LLP. If you would like to discuss this case further, please feel free to contact her directly at or review her biography at