What happens when your property’s exterior is partially damaged by a covered event, but the original roofing or siding materials are no longer manufactured? Mismatched repairs can have a huge impact on the value of your home, but is your insurance company obligated to match the repair materials to the existing materials? While the law in Colorado is not fully developed on this issue, there are legal trends indicating that your homeowner’s policy may entitle you to a reasonable match and, when one is unavailable, to repair of even undamaged materials to ensure a uniform finish.
In 2017, a Colorado district court found that an insurance policy that promised repairs “of comparable material and quality” must cover the cost of obtaining reasonable matching. The court even required repair of undamaged property in order to avoid visible repair patches and achieve a uniform aesthetic. This is in line with other jurisdictions, which have found that not only is hail damage a direct physical loss, but, when there are no reasonably matching repair materials available, the ensuing visible repairs are an additional direct physical loss. Designating visible repair mismatches as a direct physical loss triggers coverage under many homeowners policies and may allow for the replacement of a property’s entire exterior, even if only a portion of it sustained actual, physical damage.
In Colorado, a policyholder’s best claim to trigger this coverage is to gather evidence that, without matching materials, a repair would not result in a reasonably comparable appearance and the mismatch would leave the policyholder in a worse position than before the damage. Expert evidence that a patch repair could not possibly match can be very effective in persuading an insurance company to cover matching.
The matching of the replacement of storm-damaged materials with existing materials is an especially hot button issue in Colorado, where hail storms have their own season and are constantly increasing in severity. Ultimately, coverage depends on an individual policy’s specific language, so it is crucial to understand the coverage that your homeowner’s insurance provides. If you have any questions about your policy’s coverage, call Smith Jadin Johnson today.