What Happens if my Insurance Company Fails to Match my Undamaged Property's Colors?
Living in Florida, roof leaks are commonplace and can result in major damage to the interior of your home, including damage to your flooring or interior walls. More times than not, only a particular area of the interior is damaged or only a few shingles on a roof are displaced. On occasion, an insurance company will cover your claim for repairs to the areas of isolated damage. If you make those limited repairs, it may end up causing a mismatch of colors, quality, or size in the material. Mismatched items may be the least of a homeowners concern after their property has been damaged but can quickly cause a decrease in property value, longevity of the repaired area from poor quality items, or even land the homeowner in hot water with their Homeowners Association. For instance, if a portion of laminate flooring was damaged and after the repairs, the homeowner finds it is an entirely different color and quality, what recourse does the homeowner have to fix it?
The Florida Legislature specifically addressed this issue with the "matching statute," Fla. Stat. 626.9744. In instances such as above, where one area is damaged and another is undamaged, the insurance company is required to repair the damaged property so that it reasonably matches in quality, color, and size with the undamaged property. This does not mean the insurance company has to provide an exact match if it is not possible to find a particular style of the material, but it does mean the insurance company must make some type of effort to ensure the homeowner's property has a close enough match to the undamaged area. In addition, the matching statute provides that if damaged material has been discontinued, such as a particular type of roofing shingle or shade of laminate flooring, the insurance company is required to replace all the shingles or flooring, including the undamaged portions, in order to keep the area properly matched.
Of course, as with everything, there is a catch with this "matching statute." Insurance carriers are able to waive this in their policies. That means if your policy states that they are not required to match items, they cannot legally be held accountable under this statute. It may be a good time to review your policy and ensure it is up to date, and see if your carrier has not waived this "matching statute," especially before hurricane season arrives.
This article is not intended to be legal advice nor create or constitute an attorney-client relationship.