What are matching laws for home insurance?

In some states, the law requires the insurance company to ensure everything matches. In Florida, for example, if replaced items don't match in quality, color, or size, the insurance company must make "reasonable repairs or replacement of items in adjoining areas."

The appearance should be uniform within the line of sight. Inside, that could mean replacing the entire floor of a room, even if only a portion needs repair.

While not every state has such rules, some carriers have added non-matching language to policies and introduced endorsements, or insurance add-ons, to cover matching.

What is a matching endorsement?

Matching coverage is a fairly low-price add-on to your home insurance that ensures that when you file a claim for your roof, siding or windows, the surrounding undamaged roof, siding or windows will, if needed, be replaced with materials that match.

American Family Insurance, for instance, offers the "Matching Undamaged Siding and Roof Coverage" endorsement, which covers up to $20,000 of the cost to update with new materials the undamaged siding or roofing if there's a mismatch when repairs are made. The endorsement costs $25 a year.

Even in states where insurance companies are required by law to make everything match, company adjusters often push for less-expensive patching and resist full replacement, according to United Policyholders, a San Francisco-based consumer advocacy group.

"It's not a slam dunk," Reitz says. "They balk, but when you press, they'll give in. The argument I generally make is it all matched before, so it should match now."

Reitz says there's less push-back from insurers about replacing an entire counter or floor than replacing a roof or all the siding.

How to negotiate for full replacement on an insurance claim

The issue of patching versus full replacement depends greatly on individual insurance company adjusters. Some are more flexible and willing to accommodate customers than others.

If you can't make any headway, consider going over the adjuster's head to a supervisor.

If you think the insurer is treating you unfairly, contact your state's insurance department to file a complaint.

Another option is to hire a public insurance adjuster who works on your behalf through the claims process. Public insurance adjusters can charge a fee of up to 15% of the final settlement, according to the Insurance Information Institute, so you'd pay about $3,000 if your claim settlement is $20,000. But it could be worth it if they can get a better settlement than you could by filing a claim by yourself.


Home insurance FAQs

How do home insurance companies determine replacement costs for damages?

The full replacement cost for damage is determined by taking into account the following factors:

  • The details of your home, such as its age, location, flooring, and features like vaulted ceilings and crown moldings
  • Building material costs
  • Labor costs in the area