Stucco is a type of exterior cladding for houses and businesses around the world that has been used since the early 1900s. It is comprised of limestone, silica, and cement to create a thin yet decorative layer around the home to insulate throughout the year. Now, the art of stucco application has been perfected, making it a sought-after option for homeowners who want both curbside appeal yet siding more cost-effective than brick or vinyl.
Unfortunately, there is a downside to stucco that is causing problems for many American homeowners. Being a natural product, stucco is porous and can soak up too much moisture, especially when it hasn’t been installed correctly. It seems there is a similar story every day: A homeowner finds that the stucco on their new home is faulty and has caused costly damages.
This raises many questions, including, “Does homeowners’ insurance cover stucco damage?”
Let’s find out.
Problems Caused By Poorly Installed Stucco
Before answering the ultimate question, you need to first understand that installation influences stucco in a plethora of ways. Generally, if the application was slipshod, you can expected even the faintest of problems, like a small crack or stucco below grade, to become a major issue over the next few years. Some of the issues caused by poorly installed stucco can be worth thousands of dollars in repairs, and that can be devastating to a new home or business owner.
During the housing boom throughout America, many contractors turned to stucco to accelerate construction. Many homes in developments have poorly installed stucco and issues stemming from that. Multiple claimants stated that their residences or businesses experienced problems including;
- Increased humidity inside the building that caused damages to personal property and exacerbated health issues;
- Pest and insect infestations;
- Mold and mildew growth, as well as inhaled spores that caused ailments and sickness;
- Water damage on the walls, ceiling, and dry rot in wooden features throughout the building, making the building unsafe and unsaleable.
Naturally, you would think that at any time the home that you have insured would be covered from this kind of issue, but as you are about to find out, that is not always the case.
Does Homeowners Cover Damaged Stucco?
There is no easy answer to the question. It depends on many factors. The first factor is the kind of damage to the stucco. Water damage may be covered if it is the result of poor installation, but the conditions branch out from there. For instance, if your home uses an Exterior Insulation and Finish System (EIFS), a kind of synthetic stucco, it may not be covered by homeowners insurance.
You need to have the EIFS stucco installed by a certified and licensed professional that had received affirmation from the EIFS distributor directly for homeowners to apply. If you didn’t use a licensed professional that was trained in stucco application, you cannot make a claim.
Another reason homeowners insurance may not apply is if your troubles are related to water damage. So, if the EIFS system was not installed correctly and causes water damage to your home, insurance will not be able to help you.
In most cases, homeowners insurance only covers damages as a result of fire, lightning, winds (unless you live in a hurricane area), hail, riots, explosions, aircraft (or falling debris from an aircraft), vehicles (and thrown litter or debris from vehicles), mischief and commotion, theft, and volcanic eruptions. Notice that water damage is not included.
However, many stucco-related cases are covered by homeowners insurance on the basis that you find the problem with stucco during an inspection of the home when you go to purchase it or shortly after having the stucco installed by a licensed professional. In the end, whether your insurance provider will allow you to make a claim falls to two considerations: who was the professional who installed the stucco and can that professional be held liable?
Considerations About Insurance
The good news is that even if your homeowner’s insurance does not help you with paying for stucco repairs after extensive damage, you still have other options. Oftentimes, homeowners insurance cannot cover your costs because another party has the responsibility of reimbursing you—the builder or contractor who installed the stucco. This is why you should always read the fine print of the contract you sign to make sure the builder’s insurance covers any mistakes they make.
An attorney or your homeowner’s insurance representative can help you set up a claim against the contractor’s insurance company if need be. Furthermore, an attorney will be able to set up litigation if you feel that is necessary.
Wrapping It Up
In conclusion, stucco is a wonderful option for homes and businesses because it is easy to install and can last for many years with proper installation and maintenance. However, if you don’t have a licensed professional do the job and end up with damage, it can quickly transform into a nightmare. Since water-related damage to stucco is often not covered by homeowners insurance, be sure that you are using a trustworthy and skilled contractor to do the job. That way, you can avoid the problem altogether.
Have you spotted damage to your stucco and need help getting your house inspected for damages? Need repairs done? Or do you have unanswered questions? Then fill out the contact form to receive more information from us directly to your inbox!