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If your home sustained serious damages in a storm, but your home was built decades ago, you may be able to file an ordinance or law insurance claim. Ordinance or law insurance coverage is triggered when the repairs for your home require you to comply with a current law, ordinance, statute or building code, that will cost you more than the initial damage claim.

The Florida Building Code states that older buildings that sustain damage are required to integrate updated systems to match the current building codes. This can be things like your plumbing or electrical, doors, roof, or windows, which can greatly increase repair costs well beyond what most homeowner’s insurance policies will cover.

Insurance companies have been required to offer ordinance or law coverage in their policies since 1993, as a response to Hurricane Andrew. When Hurricane Andrew struck in 1992, most insurance policies had exclusions for ordinance or law coverage, but with the amount of older homes that were destroyed in that storm, Florida made it a requirement.

Florida Statute 627.7011 states that insurance companies are required to offer ordinance or law coverage and if the policyholder chooses to decline the coverage, it has to be done in writing.

While this policy is most beneficial for someone in a house that was built 30 years ago, it is good to have no matter how new your house is. Building codes can change, and even a home built 10 years ago may not be up to current codes.

What it Covers

  • Ordinance or law coverage is broken down into three categories for repairs:
  • The repair, replacement, or reconstruction of the damaged part of the building
  • The demolition and reconstruction of the undamaged portion of the house if the entire building needs to be demolished and rebuilt from the ground up.
  • The repair or replacement of the undamaged part of the building to complete the repairs to the damaged part of the building.

The ordinance or law coverage is typically either 25 percent or 50 of your building coverage limit. This coverage will reimburse you for the expenses incurred to bring your home up to code, so usually you will still have to pay everything out of pocket before your insurance company will reimburse your ordinance or law insurance claim.

Hurricane Irma Ordinance and Law Claims

If your home sustained damages in Hurricane Irma that may qualify as being under ordinance and law coverage, you still have time to file an ordinance and law claim. You have up to three years to file a homeowner’s insurance claim from the date Hurricane Irma made landfall, on September 10, 2017. If you did not know about the ordinance and law coverage in your insurance policy, you still have some time to act. You will need to have proof of loss for your insurance company to cover your losses, and you will need receipts for the work that was completed.