Homes have functional elements and some are considered cosmetic by insurance companies. These are exterior surfaces that includes doors, windows, siding and some types of roofing. Cosmetic portions of the home affect the aesthetic appearance of the home, but not its functionality. Many insurance companies have cosmetic exclusions written into their homeowner’s policies and clients may not even know it.
Cosmetic exclusions in a policy means that some types of home damage won’t be covered. South Florida homes are especially at risk for cosmetic damage from storms, hurricanes, wind, hail and tornadoes. It’s one of the reasons that insurance companies began writing those exclusions into policies. Even if a home is covered for those types of damages, it may not pay for repairs or replacement if it’s considered a cosmetic feature.
Appearance really does matter and not just to the homeowner. It’s important to others in the neighborhood and can lower home values. An example of cosmetic exclusions would be siding or metal roofing. Both can remain functional while sustaining damage to the aesthetic value. The problem with cosmetic exclusions is the wide variations in definition.
Cosmetic exclusions will depend on the insurance provider. The insurer may have specific exclusions or laundry list of what the company classifies as cosmetic. However, it’s important to know that policies may have a hail and wind damage endorsement that allows insurers to deny coverage from those risks unless the homeowner has a separate wind and hail policy.
Before agreeing to any policy, homeowners need to find out if a policy contains cosmetic exclusions and if a separate windstorm and hail policy is required. It pays to shop around. Some insurers will provide a credit on the homeowner’s policy – but only for the portion that affects cosmetic exclusions. It can save money on premiums, but will typically fall far short of the cost individuals will have to pay out-of-pocket for repairs.