Having homeowners insurance is a wonderful resource to have available and is often a requirement for financing. However, one of the most important issues regarding this type of insurance is understanding what kind of damage to your home your policy covers. Today we’ll be talking about one type of damage in particular: stucco damage.
What Is Stucco?
On the most basic level, stucco is simply a textured plaster or cement used as a decoration on the exterior of a building. While this technique is centuries old, a recent development known as Exterior Insulation and Finish Systems (EIFs for short) has taken the decorative qualities of stucco and made them functional as well. The EIFs system as a whole provides a powerful insulation for both warm or cool climates and is becoming increasingly popular for both commercial and residential construction. Although stucco can be both beautiful and functional, sometimes it can be a cause for headaches for a homeowner.
Signs of Stucco Damage
Just like any other part of a home, stucco is prone to damage, either by years of aging or subpar installation. Regardless of how the damage happened, it can cause problems beyond just the superficial. Below we’ve listed interior and exterior symptoms that the stucco in your home may be in need of attention.
- Wet floors and carpets
- Leaking doors or windows
- Warped or damaged base trim
- Mold on the walls or ceilings
- Visible streaks around doors, windows or roof
- Moisture damage or mold growth
- Stains or rotting
- Flaking, bubbling, blistering, cracking or breaking of the stucco or other parts of walls
Is Stucco Damage Covered by My Homeowners Insurance?
This is the logical question to ask once the homeowner notices damage. Unfortunately, the answer is maybe. The cause and the circumstances surrounding the damage are crucial in answering this question. For instance, was the person or company who did the stucco work properly licensed and certified, especially for EIFs?
The manufacturers who make the materials for EIFs do not generally sell directly to contractors and they are not available from big box stores such as Lowe’s or the Home Depot. Manufacturers don’t necessarily require any documentation from the contractor as not all areas of the country require licensure to do this type of work. As a consequence, within the state of Florida, it’s up to the homebuilder or homeowner to ensure certification for the work. The insurance company may deny the claim if the installer did not have certification.
Additionally, not all policies cover water damage, regardless of what caused the water damage in the first place. If that’s the case, whether the installation or time was to blame wouldn’t make a difference.
What If I’m Denied?
Remember that insurance companies will always be looking for a way to deny claims since paying them affects their bottom line. It shouldn’t be surprise if you get pushback or initially receive a denial. If that happens, you have two recourses: appeal or fight.
Some insurance companies have a formal process for the customer to appeal the decision made, though that often doesn’t get very far. If the stucco damages are severe enough, it might be worth the effort to get a Tampa insurance dispute attorney involved as this often get the decision changed in your favor.
Stucco can be a wonderful addition to the exterior of any home and is particularly popular in Florida-style homes. However, if you do have any problems with it in your home, understanding its installation, the circumstances of the damage and your homeowners insurance policies can make all the difference in quickly making repairs.
Has Your Home Insurance Company Denied Or Undervalued Your Property Damage Claim In Florida?
If your insurance company is dragging their feet regarding your property damage claim you should speak with an experienced insurance claim lawyer as soon as possible. Please contact us online or call our Tampa, Florida law office directly at 800.451.6786 to schedule your free consultation. We help Florida residents just like you fight the big insurance companies who fail to abide by their own policies. Remember, we work on a contingent basis, meaning you don't pay us anything until we win your case.