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Insurance coverage Q&A: Mismatched tiles & appraisal

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Insurance coverage Q&A: Mismatched tiles & appraisal

When a mismatched title floor is damaged, should the appraisal include costs to replace the entire floor or just broken portions?

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Our insured moved a commercial appliance which damaged a few floor tiles. The commercial kitchen is a hodgepodge of mismatched floor tiles. Against our recommendations the insurer paid for the few floor tiles (workmanship), but now the insured wishes to go to appraisal on the value of the few cracked floor tiles, claiming the floor must be replaced and the entire floor redone to accommodate the repairs.

Can we limit the appraisal to the value of the small number of cracked tiles? Loss is in Georgia.

— Lousiana Subscriber

An appraisal is to be used when the insured and the insurer disagree on the value of the property or the amount of the loss, which is the situation you have here. The policy language does not describe what needs to be in an appraisal, but some states have statutes regarding such.

Matching tiles is an enormous issue and some states have specific statutes guiding practices. Courts are split on the issue. Our position has always been that unless the tiles/shingles match, you have not restored the insured to a pre-loss condition.

In this situation, however, the insured did not have matching tiles to begin with. That changes things significantly since the insured’s pre-loss condition was not matching tiles, just unbroken tiles.

We recommend reviewing the state statutes or contacting the insurance department for guidance as to rules regarding appraisals and who can dictate what exactly can be brought up during appraisal. Going strictly by the policy language, the insured is entitled to bring up the mismatched tiles, but we are unaware of any countermanding statutes.

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