Hopefully you don’t glance at the title of this article and pass on reading it because it is about boring insurance stuff. This information could save you hundreds or thousands of dollars if you have to file a claim on your home.
If your home is damaged by a storm, fire, or other “natural disaster” and you don’t have “Law & Ordinance” coverage, then you will be responsible for the costs to ensure that your home is brought up to current building code standards during and after the repairs. In one example, if you don’t currently have drip edge on your home because your roof was installed before that became part of the enforced code, and you have to have your roof replaced, drip edge must be installed or it will fail the county inspection. On an average home, drip edge may cost $300 - $500 and if you don’t have Law & Ordinance coverage, you, as the homeowner, will have to pay your contractor for it. In another example, if your home doesn’t have ice & water shield, and the home is in an area that is higher than 7,000’ elevation, it will have to be installed. If you don’t have Law & Ordinance coverage, you, as the homeowner, will be responsible for the cost of it. On an average home, this may cost between $1,500 and $3,000!
Be careful of the terms. If you’re working with a contractor or an insurance agent, and either of them refer to “code upgrade coverage,” they’re probably talking about Law & Ordinance, but L & O is not “upgrading” anything on your property. It is paying your contractor to ensure that your property meets code.
According to DORA Bulletin B-5.35, your insurance company doesn’t have to include L & O on your policy automatically, but they must offer this coverage to you when your policy renews. As always, be sure to read your policy declaration page, and if you don’t have this coverage, ask for it to be included. It’s very inexpensive – maybe $15 - $20 year – and it could save you a ton of money.