In Ashraf v. State Auto, the West Virginia Supreme Court upheld a vacancy provision in a fire insurance policy which provides that the insurer is allowed to reduce by 15% the stated amount of coverage payable for the total loss of a building destroyed by fire is enforceable, where the building has been vacant for more than 60 consecutive days prior to the loss. The provision did not conflict with this State’s valued policy statute, W.Va. Code, 33-17-9 [2005], or West Virginia’s Standard Fire Policy, 33-17-2.   Under the Standard Fire Policy, included in the State Auto policy, a
vacancy beyond a period of sixty days authorized a complete denial of liability for the loss. The 15% reduction in the State Auto policy, is, therefore, more favorable to the policyholder than the Standard Fire Policy. And since the reduction applied to the stated value of the building in the policy, the reduction does not subject the parties to a factual dispute over valuation, a dispute intended to be avoided by the adoption of the valued policy statute. Thus, the 15% vacancy reduction was enforceable.

State Auto was off the hook for asbestos testing and removal within the fire damaged structure.  State Auto was not required to provide pollutant removal coverage in addition to the coverage it provided for debris removal. A Pollutant Cleanup and Removal provision in the policy, which covered the expense of extracting pollutants from “land or water” at the insured premises, did not apply to asbestos testing and removal, where the asbestos removed is located within the fire-damaged structure. This Court holds that a Pollutant Cleanup and Removal provision in a fire insurance policy, which covers the expense of extracting pollutants from “land or water” at the insured premises, does not apply to asbestos testing and removal, where the asbestos removed is located within the fire- damaged structure.