So, you have an insurance claim for your storm-damaged roof. But your insurance company is only approving patchwork to fix the damaged area instead of replacing the entire thing.
You can hang your head and accept the insurance company’s decision. Or you could do research or talk to a local Tennessee roofing contractor to learn if there are options.
No matter which method you choose, you should hear about Tennessee’s matching law. But what is the matching? Can it be used for your roof damage claim?
For over 30 years, the team at Bill Ragan Roofing has educated homeowners about all the options available for their roof damage insurance claim. Now we want to help you understand how Tennessee's matching law plays into it.
We’ll begin by diving right into Tennessee’s matching law and what it means. After that, you’ll learn how it affects your roof damage insurance claim. To finish this article off, I’ll help you understand how to utilize the matching law with the ITEL process.
What is Tennessee’s matching law?
Starting on 10/09/17 a new law went into effect in the state of Tennessee. This specific insurance law ensures that your home won't have an unsightly appearance if damage occurs.
Law 0780-01-05-.10(1)(b) states:
When a loss requires replacement of items and the replaced items do not match in quality, color, or size, the insurer shall replace items so as to conform to a reasonably uniform appearance according to the applicable policy provisions. This applies to interior and exterior losses. The insured shall not bear any cost over the applicable deductible, if any.
This law simply means your insurance company must pay for everything to match in appearance on your insurance claim.
For example, let’s say you have water damage on your ceiling in the living room. You’ll not only have to get the ceiling repaired but also repainted.
But the living room ceiling is connected to the hallway through the dining room and the kitchen. Because of the matching law, they can’t just paint the repaired spot on the ceiling in the living room.
This means they’ll have to paint the whole ceiling, from the living room all the way to the kitchen, so that it matches in appearance. At the end of the day, if you have damage to the interior or exterior of your home, the insurance company must pay to match the surrounding areas in appearance.
Be aware; while Tennessee has this law, not every state has matching laws, and some insurance policies even exclude the matching law.
What does the matching law mean to your roof insurance claim?
Now you know what the matching law is and what it means to your insurance claim. But what does it mean when you have an insurance claim for roof damage?
For a roof damage claim specifically, the law impacts shingle matching on a storm-damaged roof. Just like the ceiling example I used in the last section, the insurance company must replace your entire roof if there are no shingles available that match your current roof shingle’s color.
(Shingle color doesn't match leading to a possible replacement)
This could be because the shingle is no longer available, discontinued, or out of production. Even if you can find the shingle, the color might not match because of the wear and tear your roof has gone through.
No matter what, if there are no shingles that match up perfectly with your current roof, the insurance company will have to pay to replace your roof.
How do you utilize the matching law for your roof damage insurance claim?
After learning about how the matching law affects your roof damage insurance claim, you’re probably wondering how you can utilize it. Unfortunately, some insurance companies and adjusters won’t be straightforward with homeowners about it.
Maybe they don’t know the local laws, or the adjuster just doesn’t care to mention it. But the way to use the shingle matching law is by getting an ITEL report from ITEL Laboratories Inc.
At their laboratories, they analyze and match materials that make up your home, including cabinets, siding, flooring, and roofing. For roofing specifically, the report is used to identify your current shingle color and manufacturer.
To start the ITEL process, a shingle sample or an entire shingle must be sent to the ITEL laboratory for analysis. After analyzing the sample, they’ll provide the brand and specific color of the shingle currently installed on your roof.
(Left: perfect match, Right: color doesn't match)
With this report, your roofing contractor and the insurance company can determine if your roof can be repaired with the same shingle or if your entire roof will need to be replaced due to matching laws. If the shingles are discontinued or don’t match your current roof’s color, that’s when the matching law comes into play.
But remember, some insurance policies exclude matching laws. So, before starting the ITEL process, make sure to go over your policy and any exclusions it may have.
What’s the actual ITEL report process?
Now you know how to utilize Tennessee’s matching law with an ITEL report. This article gives you crucial information about what the matching law means, how it impacts your roof, and how an ITEL report can be used.
But there’s much more to the ITEL process than what we covered in this article. The process takes time and requires you to work with your local roofing contractor from start to finish.
If you’re seriously considering starting the ITEL process or just want to know how it works, you’re in luck. We wrote another article breaking down the ITEL process step-by-step.
Since 1990, the team at Bill Ragan Roofing has guided homeowners in Nashville and surrounding Middle Tennessee areas through the insurance process. We work with you and your insurance company to ensure you get exactly what your roof needs.