Roof Matching In Ohio: What’s the Law?

Picture this: Your client’s house just took some damage from a recent windstorm, and they file a claim. The roof is mostly intact, but a section of shingles is missing. This is certainly worthy of a claim, but the entire roof doesn’t need to be replaced. What now? You want to help your client, but you but you also want to make sure the claim fits the damage. This is where matching coverage comes into play.

The Ohio Administrative code, Rule 3901-1-54(I)(1)(b) states:  

  1. b) When an interior or exterior loss requires replacement of an item and the replaced item does not match the quality, color or size of the item suffering the loss, the insurer shall replace as much of the item as to result in a reasonably comparable appearance.

So, we are in a matching state. However, as the availability of materials changes all the time that isn’t always possible, so the code does have some leniency. Ohio has a regulation issued by its Department of Insurance on matching.  

The Ohio Administrative Code 3901-1-54(I)(1)(b) requires: The issue whether matching of undamaged property is covered may come down to what constitutes a “reasonably comparable appearance.” 

This coverage ensures your client’s home keeps that curb appeal after a loss. Can you imagine having an obvious roof patch job that sticks out like a sore thumb? Most insureds would prefer NOT to have a mismatched house or pay out of pocket to redo all their siding or replace their entire roof. 

The issue of whether matching of undamaged property is covered may come down to what constitutes a “reasonably comparable appearance.” This is something that may depend on a case-by-case basis.” We have seen this in case law, an example being Wright v. State Farm Fire & Casualty Company. Where the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals upheld summary judgment in favor of an insurer and dismissed claims of bad faith, breach of contract, and misrepresentation, holding that Ohio Admin. Code 3901-1-54 did not require the insurer to cover the replacement of a roof because the insureds failed to present evidence that the proposed roof repair would not result in a reasonably comparable appearance. 

Do you have follow up questions? Please reach out to John Wells at john@ohioinsuranceagents.com.

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