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Does my Insurance Policy Cover Repairs Required by the Building Code?

Homeowners whose properties have been damaged by a storm, fire or other catastrophe often ask whether their insurance policies cover repairs and upgrades required by Minnesota State Building Code. The answer to this question is almost always "yes."

Most homeowners' insurance policies are "replacement cost" policies. This means that the insurance policy covers the cost of replacing or repairing damage caused by a covered cause of loss. Minnesota law requires a replacement cost insurance policy to cover the cost to rebuild, repair, or replace property damage per the minimum standards of state building code. See Minn. Stat. ยง 65A.10.

This does not mean that an insurance policy requires an insurance company to bring every part of a home up to code. But it does mean if a contractor must do additional work to meet the building code to repair a covered loss, then that additional work is covered.

For example, if a contractor hired to repair a storm damaged roof finds there is no ice and water shield on the roof, and the building code requires ice and water shield, then the insurance policy should cover the cost to install ice and water shield. But the insurance policy would not have to cover the cost to bring the home's electrical system up to code because that work is unrelated to the storm damage.

Minnesota law requires insurance companies to pay for repairs to covered damage, including making necessary upgrades when required by the state building code. Most insurance adjusters do a great job assessing whether the building code affects the necessary scope of repair, but from time to time things get missed. In those cases, homeowners benefit from having skilled, experienced attorneys resolving insurance claim disputes in their corner. If your insurance company has denied all or a part of your claim for building code coverage, please call RSJ for a free consultation about your options.

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