Accidents happen in the home. A lamp may have fallen on your tile floor, chipping one tile, or perhaps a friend dropped a heavy weight on the floor, cracking multiple tiles. Whatever may have caused your tile to crack, the small amount of damage may lead to further damage that requires you to replace your entire floor. It's not always easy to match just one tile, especially in an older home. Our Miami homeowners insurance claim lawyers know that replacing an entire floor can be extremely costly, and generally your homeowner's insurance policy should be able to cover the cost of a new floor.
A recent Florida appellate case has made it extremely difficult for individuals to be compensated under their homeowner's insurance policies for broken tiles - no matter what the cause may be. In the case of Ergas v. Universal Property and Casualty Insurance Company, the Court construed language in an insurance policy that precluded the Ergas family from receiving coverage for the cost of replacing a tile floor. A hammer was dropped and broke one tile. Ergas eventually had to replace the floor and sought to cover the cost of this construction by filing a claim under his homeowner's insurance policy.
The Court considered the incident of the hammer falling on the tile floor to be "marring," which is an exclusion to coverage under the Ergas' homeowner's insurance policy. Interestingly, many insurance companies are aware that such a Court decision is wrong and not in accordance with general insurance practices. Under basic contract law, any ambiguity in the terms of the contract is construed against the drafter of the contract. The drafter in all insurance contracts is the insurance company. In Ergas, the insurance policy in question did not define the term "marring." This term has various meanings which could lead to confusion. The Court did not conclusively define what "marring" means under an insurance policy, but did conclude that dropping a hammer onto a tile floor, damaging the tile, must mean "marring."