A federal court in Florida recently held that coverage for repairs for the purpose of achieving aesthetic uniformity is appropriate where repairs concern only an adjoining area for materials including wallpaper, baseboards, woodwork and carpeting. Great Am. Ins. Co. of New York v. Towers of Quayside No. 4 Condo. Ass’n, 2015 WL 6773870 (S.D. Fla. Nov. 5, 2015).
The insured submitted a claim for damage to its condominium building caused by a water leak from an air conditioning unit, which caused damage to drywall, carpeting, baseboards, insulation and wallpaper in the hallways of one wing of the building. The building maintained a uniform appearance by design with respect to the carpet, wallpaper and woodwork in the common area hallways, but the east hallway of the building was separated from the west hallway by a tiled elevator landing on each floor. The insured sought coverage to repair or replace the undamaged carpeting, wallpaper, baseboards and woodwork in the undamaged hallway in order to achieve aesthetic uniformity with the area that suffered water damage. The insurer denied coverage for the repair and replacement of components that were not physically damaged, and the insured sued for breach of contract. The insurer moved for summary judgment, requesting a declaration that the policy does not entitle the insured to coverage for replacement of undamaged building components to assure aesthetic uniformity, relying on the policy’s limitation of coverage to “direct physical loss” and explicit exclusion of coverage for consequential loss.
The district court granted the insurer’s motion in part, finding that coverage for matching for the purpose of achieving aesthetic uniformity is appropriate where repairs concern any continuous run of an item or adjoining area for materials such as wallpaper, baseboards, woodwork and carpeting, but that payment of the cost of matching that is not otherwise required is not covered under the policy.