Iowa Line of Sight Law

Iowa Line of Sight Law

When damage strikes your home, you count on a home insurance company to assess and fix the damage. But unfortunately, complications arise when a manufacturer discontinues the damaged item.

What happens when the carpet you have had for years is no longer available? What happens if only part of your home's siding requires replacement? What happens if all items do not match? Iowa's line of sight law may come into play.

What Is Iowa's Line of Sight Law?
Iowa's line of sight law, Administrative Code Rule 191-15.44, says insurance companies must repair or replace any partial repair in the line of sight to like, kind, and quality of the contiguous pieces. In addition, Iowa's line of sight law claims that anything within an observer's view should be reasonably uniform.

Iowa's Line of Sight Law

'Reasonably Uniform' is a vague term. The line-of-sight rule allows for replacements and repairs to be relative in similarity. This law applies to interior and exterior losses.

Your insurance company should restore your damaged property to its former state. When matching materials are available, this should be no problem. However, when these materials are not available, the story is different.

Insurance Matching Regulations
The ISO and other governing bodies within the insurance industry set standards that insurers typically follow. Compliance with ISO regulations often depends on the size of the insurer; larger carriers are more compliant. These standards bodies have matching regulations; insurers must replace all damaged property and damaged property to like, kind, and quality.

Each state then adopts its own laws that often resemble those regulations, but they often vary.

The following terms come from insurance industry standards about matching insurance, which you should understand. 

Like and Quality Definition
An insurance company should provide a replacement that resembles the original. "Like, kind, and quality" is used to suggest that the replacement should be similar in composition.

Insurers must, by law, pay for repairs or replacements with parts and products from their original manufacturer, and if not possible, materials comparable to their originals.

Line of Sight Coverage
Line of sight coverage replaces materials visible before the damage occurred with like, kind, and quality materials. As a result, insurance carriers do not have to provide matching materials for hidden areas. This coverage pertains to everything from walls and countertops to roofing and siding.

Mismatched Roof Shingles
If your home has discontinued shingles, you will not find an exact match. An insurance company cannot provide you with mismatched shingles for visible areas. The roof must have a uniform look to the casual observer. If you or your insurer cannot find a suitable replacement for the damaged area, the insurer must replace the entire area in the line of sight.

Insurance Carpet Replacement
If you cannot find a carpet to match the quality and color, you may need a new carpet. If a room is completely carpeted, insurance must replace all carpet in the room or to the point of a natural break. Terms like "natural beak" are relative, so this can get tricky.

Mismatched Siding
Siding often requires replacement after hail and wind storms. Insurance companies must replace siding to appear uniform, meaning the color and quality must match the entire home if it is in the line of sight.

Insurance Cabinet Matching
Most cabinets are within the line of sight, so insurance companies must find a close match. They can repair cabinets with unmatched materials when damage is not in the line of sight.

Continuous Flooring Insurance
When you have continuous flooring insurance, the company must replace the entire floor. This rule is because continuous flooring coverage extends beyond the line of sight.

Insurance Policy "Matching" Terms to Avoid
When you choose an insurance policy, you should pay close attention to these words:

  • Adjacent to. Consider potential damage to your roof tiles. Insurers may include this to claim they will match the damaged tiles plus adjacent tiles. The term is vague and could mean that the insurer will replace exactly one tile next to the damage.
  • Area or Region. Does this term refer to the damaged area? Does it refer to the area surrounding the damage? Does it refer to the line of sight? A policy should include more specific language as this is too vague and allows the insurer to only replace the damaged area, even if replacement parts do not match and it is in the line of sight.
  • Line of Sight. Get specifics if you see this term. From which angle is the line of sight? What distance and height apply to the line-of-sight rules? Is the siding only considered in the line of sight from the road or all angles?
  • Like, Kind or Quality. You will need to gather specific information when you see these terms. Do these words refer to color? Size? Age? Texture? Etc.

When you ask for clarification, please always get it in writing, so it is binding.

ISO Cosmetic Damage Exclusion
Insurance companies may deem cosmetic damage, like dents and scratches, as minor concerns. They are imperfections, not damage. If the material still functions, repair or replacement claims may get denied. E.g., insurers often deny hail dents in roofs and siding as they are cosmetic.

Start a quote below for a free personalized insurance comparison quote and home risk assessment. We will help you find the most liberal policy available.

Hope that helps!

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Young Alfred