Law and Ordinance Coverage
State laws and local ordinances are constantly changing and undergoing updates. Property owners need to stay abreast of these changes to ensure they are fully covered in case of damage or loss.
Law and Ordinance Coverage is a type of insurance coverage that, in most cases, should be included in a homeowners, business, or community association insurance portfolio. New laws may require expensive upgrades in construction, electrical, plumbing, or HVAC (heating, ventilation and air conditioning) and other improvements. Typical insurance policies do not cover the expenses related to rebuilding "up to code."
Law and Ordinance coverage is designed to pay any extra costs imposed by new or revised laws, ordinances, or building codes when rebuilding after a disaster or accident.
For homeowners, law and ordinance coverage may be a "rider," or additional aspect, of a homeowners insurance policy. For businesses, community associations and certain other organizations and property owners, law and ordinance coverage may be even more important and should probably be part of the general insurance strategy.
Law and Ordinance Coverage Claims Lawyer in Sarasota, FL
It is no secret that insurers scrutinize claims thoroughly. When a home or business is damaged, rebuilding may require expensive upgrades to comply with modern building codes and other laws, especially if a structure is more than a few years old.
Insisting on law and ordinance coverage is smart, but when an insurance company delays, disputes or denies a claim with ordinance and law coverage in place, or offers a settlement that does not adequately compensate the policyholder for the extra costs associated with rebuilding "up to code," the insurance company may be acting in bad faith. The knowledgeable insurance attorneys at Germain Law Group may be able to help.
Contact one of our experienced insurance law attorneys today to schedule an appointment to discuss your law and ordinance coverage case. We are skilled in dealing with insurance companies. Our qualified attorneys have more than a decade of experience in negotiating with insurance companies for the maximum benefits for our clients and we will go to court to fight for the rights of our clients if necessary.
Germain Law Group represents clients throughout Sarasota County, FL, and in neighboring Manatee, DeSoto, Highlands and Hardee counties. From our office in northeast Sarasota, Florida, we serve the cities of Sarasota, North Port, Venice, Bradenton, Palmetto, Arcadia, Sebring, Avon Park, and Wauchula, as well as all other communities throughout all five counties.
If your insurer is disputing your claim, contact a Sarasota attorney who is experienced in insurance law and law and ordinance coverage. Call Germain Law Group at our Sarasota, FL, office today at (941) 316-0333 to schedule an appointment with one of our dedicated personal property insurance law attorneys.
Law and Ordinance Coverage in Sarasota, FL
After a disaster or accident occurs, rebuilding a home or commercial structure may be complicated and expensive due to laws or ordinances that went into effect since the building was originally constructed. Some buildings may be deemed "unrepairable" and condemned or designated for demolition due to building codes, even if the property owner is willing to rebuild.
Other laws or ordinances may require newer, more expensive upgrades to bring the building "up to code," especially for older structures.
In many communities in and around Sarasota, Florida, a building that sustains extensive damage of more than 50 percent of its value is deemed a total loss and must be demolished and rebuilt under new state laws and local ordinances that may require extensive upgrades. Law and Ordinance coverage is meant to compensate for these costs, especially for older buildings.
Evolution of Ordinance and Law Coverage in Florida
Since the 1970s, in the interest of public safety, both the state of Florida and many of its counties and cities have adopted building codes that dictate how a building should be constructed. When an older building is damaged, rebuilding must be done "up to code" by following, new — often stricter and more costly — laws and ordinances.
Chapter 627, Section 627.7011(4) of the Florida Statutes addresses the issue of law and ordinance coverage by stating that "A homeowner’s insurance policy must include in bold type … the following statement:
“LAW AND ORDINANCE COVERAGE IS AN IMPORTANT COVERAGE THAT YOU MAY WISH TO PURCHASE. YOU MAY ALSO NEED TO CONSIDER THE PURCHASE OF FLOOD INSURANCE FROM THE NATIONAL FLOOD INSURANCE PROGRAM. WITHOUT THIS COVERAGE, YOU MAY HAVE UNCOVERED LOSSES. PLEASE DISCUSS THESE COVERAGES WITH YOUR INSURANCE AGENT.”
Insurance companies that do not make this disclosure may be acting in bad faith.
After a building is damaged, old plumbing or electrical systems may need to be totally replaced. Sprinklers, fire doors, or access for people with disabilities may need to be added to conform with new laws. Reinforced walls or roofs may be required to protect against Florida hurricanes, even though the requirements did not apply when the structure was originally built.
Meeting new code requirements is often more expensive than rebuilding exactly to a structure's prior condition. Law and Ordinance coverage is designed to cover these added costs, since they are not covered, but considered "improvements," under standard property insurance policies.
Most law and ordinance coverage plans allow a policyholder to designate a percentage of the total covered amount to apply to law and ordinance coverage; Florida law sets the maximum law and ordinance coverage at 25 percent of total coverage and 50 percent of a dwelling (Florida Statutes, Chapter 627, § 627.7011).
When Law and Ordinance Coverage is Denied in Sarasota, FL
Insurance companies are for-profit businesses and they sometimes deny claims or dispute them by offering inadequate compensation when a home, building, or business is damaged. Another tactic is delaying a claim in an effort to force a policyholder to capitulate and accept an inadequate settlement offer.
But if you have law and ordinance coverage, you prepared for the contingency that new laws and ordinances may increase the costs of rebuilding. Your Sarasota insurance lawyer can fight an insurer's unscrupulous or bad faith tactics, negotiate a proper and just settlement, or, if necessary, take the insurance company to court to fully compensate you for your loss so that you are able to comply with new laws and ordinances related to rebuilding.
Florida Statutes, Title XXXVII, Chapter 627, Part X, Section 627.7011 — Law and Ordinance Coverage — Find the Florida laws related to law and ordinance coverage in insurance contracts at § 627.7011.
Florida Office of Insurance Regulation (FOIR) — Law and Ordinance Coverage — This 31-page guide, prepared by the state's office of insurance regulation, provides a wealth of information about law and ordinance coverage in the State of Florida.
Find a Sarasota, FL Attorney for Law and Ordinance Coverage Claims
If you have law and ordinance coverage and your insurer is delaying, disputing, or denying your claim, or if your insurer offered a settlement that does not cover all costs associated with rebuilding in compliance with current laws and ordinances, then contact Germain Law Group today to schedule an appointment with one of our experienced insurance attorneys to discuss your case.
Germain Law Group represents clients in law and ordinance insurance cases throughout Sarasota County, as well as Manatee, DeSoto, Highlands, and Hardee counties. Our Southwest Florida office is conveniently located in Sarasota at the University Commons Office Center, 6151 Lake Osprey Drive, Suite 300, near the intersection of Interstate 75 and University Parkway (Exit 213).
If you bought and paid for law and ordinance coverage, you should receive full compensation for rebuilding, even when building codes impose high costs. Call (941) 316-0333 to speak with the dedicated insurance lawyers at Germain Law Group today to discuss your case.
Meet Our Attorney
Michael B. Germain
Michael B. Germain is the founder of the Germain Law Group. For over a decade, Michael has been involved in litigating insurance claims and complex commercial matters.