FRIDAY, DECEMBER 16, 2011
There is no question that Exterior Insulation Finish Systems (EIFS) offer an attractive, flexible and affordable way to insulate and protect the outside of a home. While the materials themselves cannot be permeated by water, that doesn’t mean they actually create a waterproof exterior for your client’s home.
When EIFS is installed properly, the system itself is waterproof. If improvements are made to a home later, they can cause cracks in or around the EIFS which will allow water to get between the building structure and the layers of finish system. EIFS repels water so well, it doesn’t allow for moisture to escape and that can lead to mold and rot. This mold and rot is often excluded from coverage in home insurance policies. Additionally, when an inexperienced or uncertified contractor installs it improperly, it can result in cracks that collect and hold water. This can result in the same mold and rot.
This combination of improper installation and post-installation damage has resulted in a lot of litigation surrounding EIFS, and is something that all contractors should ensure they have proper liability insurance protection against.
What to Look for in a Policy
Some general liability policies exclude coverage for EIFS application because of the number of recent claims, which has led many contractors to stop using it. Even if you are a certified, experienced installer with no history of complaints, you may find that insurers are reluctant to cover you. If you’re a certified installer whose general liability policy excludes coverage for these materials or places a steep limit on claims then you need an agent who can help you get a policy created specifically for EIFS.
One of the best ways to ensure that you never face a liability lawsuit regarding the installation of EIFS is to install a water management system to collect and divert any water that can get inside. It’s also important to let your clients know that any modifications they make to the home, doors, windows and roof can affect the effectiveness of EIFS. Follow this discussion up with the suggestion that they have a licensed and insured contractor complete all additional work done on the home.
Even with the implementation of water management systems and disclaimers, you can’t leave yourself exposed to potential liability. Contact us today and make sure your Oklahoma City Insurance agent at ECI Agency has you properly covered.
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