A pipe bursts and water ruins a corner of your Brazilian cherry wood floor. A windstorm tears off half of the vinyl shingles on one side of the house. A fire burns a couple of kitchen cupboards.
Although your Homeowners policy will cover such partial losses, the extent to which the insurance company must go to make everything look just the way you’d like can be tricky.
Let’s say that the new siding contrasts with the older, weathered shingles or that you can’t find replacement kitchen cupboards that precisely match the originally.
Your claim should put you back to pre-loss condition so the new part shouldn’t stick out like a sore thumb. For example, this might mean replacing the entire floor of a room even if only a portion needs repair, or repainting all four walls after damage to only one.
In some states, if replaced items don’t match in quality, color or size, the insurance company must make “reasonable repairs or replacement of items in adjoining areas.” Although other states don’t have laws on matching, some Homeowners insurers have added similar “non-matching language” to their policies.
Besides varying by state, insurer, and policy, the issue of patching versus full replacement can depends on insurance company adjusters.
If you can’t get make any headway with the adjuster on the repairs you want, consider going over his or her head to a supervisor, or file a complaint with the state insurance department. Another option is to hire a public insurance adjuster to work on your behalf through the claims process. These professionals usually charge about 10% of the final settlement.