Monday, April 30, 2012

Insurance, building codes and rebuilding after a disaster

Q: Part of my home burned, and I'm repairing the large burned section of the home. County building codes require upgrades from what was originally there. Does my homeowners policy cover this added expense?

A: It depends. If your policy has what's called "law and ordinance coverage" -- it's often referred to as "L&O" or "upgrade coverage," then yes, your policy would address the added costs to make the required upgrades.

As a precaution, ask your agent or insurer if you already have the coverage or if you can add it to your policy.

Note: This is one of a series of common -- or in some cases, particularly unusual -- questions received by our consumer advocacy staff, who answer questions from consumers.

Got a question or insurance problem of your own? If you live in Washington, feel free to give us a call, toll-free at 1-800-562-6900. We'll do our best to help. (And if you live in another state or territory, here's a handy map that lists the contact info for your local insurance regulatory office.)