Does Homeowners Insurance Cover Siding Damage?
- Does Homeowners Insurance Cover Siding Damage?
Siding is a reliable material for homeowners to improve their house’s curb appeal. Clean, attractive siding can give homes a uniform and finished look while helping with energy efficiency. The durability and cost-effectiveness of siding make it a very attractive option.
But, like any part of your property, siding can get damaged. Since your insurance is designed to protect your property, you may want to turn to your insurance company for help with siding repair and replacement when you need it. There are times when homeowners insurance will cover siding. But, it’s not always straightforward.
Let’s take a closer look, then, at when and how homeowners insurance covers siding.
Does Homeowners Insurance Cover Siding?
Yes, homeowners insurance will cover damage to siding caused by a covered peril in the policy. It may become more complicated when your insurer needs to match the replacement siding to your existing siding, though. Also, siding won’t be covered when damage is the result of wear and tear over time.
Typically covered perils in your policy that could cause siding damage include:
If one of these were to damage the siding on your home, you should be covered. For example, your insurance would likely pick up the tab if hurricane winds caused debris to blow into and scrape off your siding. Additionally, your insurance company should financially help you repair or replace your siding if a tornado ripped it off, or if hail wrecked it.
Your provider won’t cover you for new siding if the siding damage you’ve experienced is a result of normal wear and tear, though. Old siding will become weathered eventually. It doesn’t last forever. Your insurer won’t pay for new siding on your home if yours becomes worn out, faded, or rotted as a result of gradual and expected wearing over time.
Insurance also won’t cover your siding damage if they believe it’s a result of policyholder negligence. Say your wood siding isn’t very old, yet it begins to decay. Well, if you’ve never inspected, cleaned, or treated it, your insurer won’t pay for the damages.
Providers expect you to perform routine home maintenance to avoid claim-causing issues as well as you can. Had you taken appropriate care of your siding, the problem likely could’ve been avoided.
No matter what kind of siding you have, it’s important to inspect it and clean it regularly. A power washer could be good for steel and cement siding, while vinyl and wood siding may be cleaned with a hose. You probably need to paint as needed, too.
How Does Home Insurance Cover Siding Replacement and Repair?
Siding is covered under the dwelling coverage in your homeowners insurance. But how your insurer covers siding replacement can depend on your policy language and your state’s laws. You may run into complications when the insurer tries to match the new siding to the existing siding on your house.
If all of your siding needs to be replaced, the claim may be more straightforward. But, what if only one side or one area of your home experiences siding damage?
Your insurer may have a decision of whether it’s their duty to only restore the damaged part of your home, or more sensible to just replace all of your siding with new siding. For partial damage, getting new siding to match the existing, undamaged siding on homes is easier said than done. This is where state regulations and your policy language come into play.
An insurance company’s responsibility is usually to bring the damaged property back to its initial condition with materials of similar condition and quality. When replacing stolen items or rebuilding homes, modern equivalents of damaged property usually suffice.
For instance, your insurance can replace a stolen couch with a new, similar couch that costs the same amount. It could be the same color, size, and material, but it doesn’t have to be the exact same couch model.
But, for siding, a partial loss can be a bigger headache. “Similar” siding wouldn’t cut it on the outside of your house. Any mismatched siding would be an eyesore, and it would reduce the value of your house, which would violate the insurance company’s duty to bring your home back up to pre-loss condition.
And, getting new siding to match the old siding on a home is even more difficult if the existing siding has faded or weathered a bit. It’s also possible that the existing siding on your home may have been discontinued altogether since it was installed, which makes getting new, matching siding almost impossible.
What to Know About Siding Damage Insurance Claims
Thus, some states have introduced laws that require insurers to replace all siding, even undamaged areas, with new siding if it’s necessary to make the siding match. Ohio, Kentucky, and Iowa, for example, have some matching siding laws for insurance carriers. Other times, an insurer might not have to match new siding exactly as long as the property is brought back to its pre-loss condition and value and damaged areas are repaired.
Additionally, the type of coverage you have in your policy will affect how your siding replacement is covered. Dwellings are usually covered on a replacement cost basis, which is where the “like kind and quality” requirement usually is found. Your insurer needs to replace your stuff sufficiently.
But, if you have actual cash value coverage for your dwelling, your insurer may not be as willing to replace all of your siding if you experience a partial loss. Actual cash value coverage factors in depreciation, which means you’ll receive a smaller payout the older your siding is since its condition, thus its value has diminished over time.
To make this smaller payout go the distance to replace your siding, your insurer may not be required to replace all siding. You’re more likely to encounter a scenario with actual cash value coverage for dwellings on HO8 policies, or insurance plans for older homes.
What Is Matching Coverage Home Insurance?
Some companies have tried to get ahead of potential mismatched siding problems by introducing matching coverage home insurance endorsements to their policies. Matching coverage in your policy means your insurer will cover the cost to replace undamaged siding to match new, replacement siding after a covered loss.
Matching siding coverage will cost a little extra per policy term, but you won’t have to worry as much about siding damage insurance claims. With matching coverage, some carriers will let you choose a limit, while others will have a fixed amount they’ll provide in case it comes up. For instance, let’s say you have $30,000 of matching siding coverage. As long as the job to replace all of your siding costs less than $30,000, you should be good to go.
The availability of this coverage varies by carrier. Also, some insurers who offer it may have age or material restrictions. For instance, you may only be able to get matching home insurance coverage with vinyl or aluminum siding.
Does Homeowners Insurance Cover Defective Siding?
Homeowners insurance generally doesn’t cover defective siding, as this would be an issue that was either preexisting before you got the policy, or considered an instance of faulty construction which is likely excluded by name in your policy.
In their exclusion sections, most policies state that they won’t cover construction, repair, or maintenance related things that are “faulty, inadequate, or defective.” This usually explicitly includes design, workmanship, construction, and materials used in repair, construction, or renovation. Thus, it’s safe to say that if your siding was defective by nature, it won’t be covered.
Issues with siding known to be defective, like Louisiana-Pacific products, can be taken up with the manufacturer, instead. Or, if your siding was installed incorrectly, you’d probably want to consult the installer.
Plus, if you had your siding longer than you’ve had your homeowners insurance, your claim for defective siding installation would be excluded for an additional reason. Home insurance typically doesn’t cover any problem if it was in place before your policy was. Your insurer isn’t responsible for retroactively fixing any issues on your property that have been around since before you were a policyholder.
Does Homeowners Insurance Cover Melted Siding?
In what’s becoming a growing endemic across the country, homeowners are seeing their vinyl siding melting off of their houses due to their neighbor’s energy-efficient windows reflecting and focusing solar glare onto the siding. Unfortunately, there’s no clear answer on whether your home insurance will cover this problem.
The issue touches on many potential causes for exclusions that we’ve mentioned earlier, but it doesn’t exactly fit into any of them. The melting process may be gradual, but some homeowners are seeing their siding warp or bubble relatively quickly.
And, it’s not faulty workmanship on the part of the policyholder since the siding itself is fine and the neighbor’s window is the problem. It may not be a home maintenance issue since the policyholder can maintain their home perfectly well and still experience this.
However, it may be a case of wear and tear or deterioration. And, the damage isn’t the result of a covered peril. Thus your insurance may be hesitant to cover it. Your best bet may be to consult with your neighbor and agree on a way to remedy the problem person to person.
As this problem continues to grow, we’ll likely see insurance companies release more official words on it. But, for now, you should be aware of the problem and ask your agent about your coverage for melted siding preemptively so you know where your provider stands before filing a siding damage insurance claim for it.
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The editorial content on Clovered’s website is meant to be informational material and should not be considered legal advice.