Most property insurance policies contain a provision that obligates the carrier to “repair or replace and insured’s damaged property with material of LIKE KIND and QUALITY or with SIMILAR MATERIAL. 

For all intents and purposes this is fine it’s when there is a specific “matching exclusion” that things get tricky.

Let’s break it down using an example.

Your house burns down – it’s a total loss.   Your insurance is adequate and your carrier funds the rebuild of your house with like kind and quality materials – you may not get the exact same flooring because perhaps what you had is no longer in stock, but it’s close and you are happy.  Because you are replacing everything, it really doesn’t matter if you are exactly matching the old products as long as you are getting something of similar and equal quality. Win/Win.  

BUT….here’s where it gets tricky and you need to closely read your policy

What if you only have a partial loss -say part of your kitchen floor was damaged and not the whole thing. Because the carrier can’t find the original flooring, MOST (not all) carriers will simply replace the whole floor UNLESS you have a “matching exclusion” which means the carrier is NOT obligated to match your existing floor – simply replace the damaged part.  When this happens, most people pay out of pocket to have the other portion of the floor replaced so it indeed matches. As you can imagine, some scenarios can get expensive – such as replacing roofing or siding. 

How to protect yourself

First, always work with a licensed independent insurance broker – buying homeowner’s insurance online, without proper guidance is a mistake. That “great deal” you found online may be your nightmare at the time of a loss.

  1. Always look at endorsements and exclusions on your policies. Confused as to what is covered and what isn’t? Ask your agent to explain it to you!
  2. Have a detailed inventory of your home, and when you do any kind of updates save the receipts and information – such as the type and brand of flooring, siding, and even paint colors.  
  3. If you have a historic home – with original flooring etc, understand that replacing some aspects MAY be impossible – but it also MAY be possible if you are patient and are willing to do some of the research to find the like/kind materials. 
  4. If you need to save money on your policies – increase deductibles, don’t decrease coverage.  
  5. At the time of a loss – make sure you contact your agent as well as your carrier – they are there to hold your hand through the process.  

As always, if you have any questions about homeowner’s insurance, feel free to reach out to anyone of our licensed agents at these convenient locations:

Chicago Office: 5343 W. Devon Avenue, Chicago, Illinois 60646 | 773-273-8777
Bourbonnais Office: 1410 Argyle Ln N, Bourbonnais, IL 60914 | 815-922-4754
Denver Office: 1400 16th Street, Suite 400, Denver, Colorado 80202 | 720-779-1190

*The content in this article is for information purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice.