Does Your Insurance Cover Stucco Damage?
More and more homes feature stucco. Not only does it give a home a distinctive look, but stucco is also an affordable option for the exterior of homes and businesses. Stucco helps insulate homes and is also flame retardant. During summer months in Florida, stucco’s insulating properties help keep our cool air in while the sun is bearing down on our homes and offices. Unfortunately, poorly applied or improperly mixed stucco can lead to cracks that aren’t just unattractive but that also endanger the integrity of one’s home.
A skilled inspector can determine what may have caused a home’s stucco to crack. Different types of cracks often point to the genesis of the problem. (For more info on this, check out this blog post). However, fixing cracks is not always as simple as repatching the defective area. While cracked stucco in and of itself is a problem, what the cracks let into your home can be an even bigger problem.
When stucco is cracked, it is no longer doing an effective job protecting your home from the elements. Even small cracks can let in moisture that can rot wood, cause mold to grow, or let in pests such as termites. This damage can be expensive to fix, leaving many homeowners emptying their wallets or turning to their insurance companies for remedy.
Which Stucco Cracks are Covered by Insurance?
Unfortunately, not every stucco damage claim will be covered by homeowners insurance.
For stucco cracks and their resultant damage to be covered under a homeowner’s insurance policy, it generally must meet the following requirements:
- Stucco must have been applied by a licensed contractor.
- The damage cannot have pre-existed the insurance policy.
- Damage must be provable.
Furthermore, the type of stucco application can affect whether your insurer will cover any damage. Similarly, the type of damage can affect your ability to receive compensation from your insurer. Not all policies cover water damage, for example.
Insurance will likely not cover self-applied stucco, even if it was completed by the previous owner.
Homeowner’s insurance policies vary. To determine your degree of coverage, it’s a good idea to read through your policy and discuss it with your agent.
What if Your Insurer Denies Your Stucco Damage Claim?
If you determine that your insurance company will not cover your damage or will only partially cover your damage, you may have other options. For example, a builder or contractor may be held liable for shoddy stucco work on a new home or new stucco application. Builders and contractors should both carry insurance coverage. For this to be a viable option, however, a homeowner may need to illustrate liability. This is often best accomplished by a trained Florida stucco lawyer who understands how to prove legal liability or negligence on the part of the builder or contractor.
Alternatively, valid claims that have been denied can be challenged through the legal system. A Florida stucco lawyer can help homeowners negotiate or challenge an insurer who is reluctant to pay out a legitimate claim.
When applied properly, stucco is a great exterior covering for a home. When problems arise, however, it can create a dangerous environment by allowing water, mold, and pests in, creating an unsafe environment for you and your family.
If you’ve discovered cracks in your stucco and aren’t sure whether your insurance company will cover the damage, give Burnett Law, P.A. a call. With years of experience handling defective stucco claims, we understand the ins and outs of homeowner’s and builder’s insurance and can help homeowners navigate the legal system in their quest for compensation.
No crack should go unexamined. Give us a call today to learn more about what Burnett Law, P.A. can do for you.