Court of Appeals Upholds Material Matching Exclusion in Minnesota Policy

In an opinion issued today by the Minnesota Court of Appeals, it upheld an insurance company's exclusion against repairing a policyholder's hail-damaged property with reasonably matching materials in Pleasure Creek vs. American Family. The Court relied heavily on the recent decision from the Federal 8th Circuit in Noonan v. American Family that upheld a similar exclusion. In relevant part, the matching exclusion states that:

Fire-damaged homeowners face insurance troubles

People whose homes are damaged by fire may face a challenging time dealing with their insurance companies. The results of major wildfires, such as the Camp Fire, have changed the way that many insurers do business. Homeowners devastated by fires have faced massive losses, from their homes themselves to the landscapes that once surrounded them. After a claim, however, or a significant fire in the area, homeowners are likely to face substantially increased premiums. For people living near the Camp Fire, fire insurance costs have doubled in the year after the disaster.

Fire threats are leading to a loss of insurance coverage

In California, 167,000 homeowners were unable to get their insurance policies renewed in 2018, which was an increase of 6% throughout the state. Furthermore, there was a 10% increase in the number of policies that were not renewed in areas likely to be impacted by wildfires. Of those who had their coverage terminated, 88,000 lived in areas where there was no active fire threat. State law does provide several protections for homeowners who have had their insurance policies cancelled.

What may homeowners associations regulate?

Running a successful homeowners' association is a difficult task. Each resident within a community has their preferences for how they decorate and maintain their home, and there always seems to be one or two owners who simply do not want to operate inside the HOA guidelines.

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