Don's Bldg. Supply, Inc. v. OneBeacon Ins. Co

In Don's Bldg. Supply, Inc. v. OneBeacon Ins. Co., 267 S.W.3d 20, 51 Tex. Sup. Ct. J. 1367 (Tex. 2008), the policy provided that property damage was covered only if such damage "occurred during the policy period." The court noted that several Texas courts of appeals have followed the so called "manifestation rule," which triggers the insurer's responsibility only if the property damage becomes evident or discoverable during the policy term. However, the court declined to fashion or adopt a universally applicable manifestation rule noting that, in the case before it, the policy made no provision for it. The court elaborated as follows: Whatever practical advantages a manifestation rule would offer to the insured or the insurer, the controlling policy language does not provide that the insurer's duty is triggered only when the injury manifests itself during the policy term, or that coverage is limited to claims where the damage was discovered or discoverable during the policy period. . . . . Again, the policy provides coverage if the "'property damage' occurs during the policy period." The policy does not state that coverage is available if property is, during the policy period, exposed to a process, event, or substance that later results in . . . injury to tangible property. . . . . Pinpointing the moment of injury retrospectively is sometimes difficult, but we cannot exalt ease of proof or administrative convenience over faithfulness to the policy language; our confined task is to review the contract, not revise it. Our prevailing concern is not one of policy but of law, and we must honor the parties' chosen language. . . . The policy asks when the damage happened, not whether it was manifest, patent, visible, apparent, obvious, perceptible, discovered, discoverable, capable of detection, or anything similar. Occurred means when damage occurred, not when discovery occurred. Id. The court ultimately held that under the facts of that case, the property damage occurred when the home suffered damage. Id.