A hail storm hits a shingled roof, but only damages a handful of shingles. Unfortunately, the shingles on the roof are no longer manufactured, which would result in a mismatched checkerboard of colors on the roof if only the few damaged shingles were replaced. In those circumstances, is the insurance company obligated to replace the entire roof? Common sense and an understanding of the purpose of insurance and indemnity tells me “yes.” Over the past few years, I’ve had numerous adjusters and defense attorneys argue with me about this and take the position that Tennessee law does not require “matching.” That’s not true – – there are actually at least two cases that support the idea that matching is required in order to put the insured’s property back in its pre-loss condition:
- Alexander v. Phillips, 1984 Tenn. App. LEXIS 3097 (Tenn. Ct. App. 1984) (affirming trial court’s award of damages for replacement of entire roof in breach of construction contract case, and noting that patching of cedar shake roof would end up in a “bad appearing roof”).
- Hutcherson v. Tenn. Farmers Mut. Ins. Co., 1986 Tenn. App. LEXIS 3259 (Tenn. Ct. App. 1986) (affirming trial court’s award of damages for replacement of entire front facade despite fact that only one area of the front facade was damaged because the “damaged spot alone was not capable of being repaired satisfactorily because of aesthetic reasons”).
Based on these cases, and absent policy provisions to the contrary, it seems fairly clear that Tennessee, like many others, is a “matching state.”