Chinese Drywall Victims' New Problem: Losing Homeowners Insurance

Is if having rotting Chinese drywall isn’t bad enough, now beleaguered homeowners are facing the prospect of losing their homeowners insurance policies.

The Wall Street Journal reports that insurance companies are starting to not renew some homeowners policies because of the drywall, which emits sulfide fumes and causes corrosion of electrical wires and plumbing.

While it might seem unduly harsh, the insurers say they shouldn’t be responsible for any damage that results from rotting drywall, and that if policyholders don’t replace the drywall (which can cost a staggering $80,000 to $100,000), their policies won’t be renewed.

“[Drywall] corrosion leads to a likely future claim for a covered peril such as fire or a water leak,” which would be the responsibility of the insurer to repair, said an insurance company spokesman.

Homebuilders who used the drywall in new homes have started allocating funds for homeowners to replace it. As many as 100,000 homes built mostly in 2006 and 2007 may be affected by the drywall, which has been alleged to also cause health problems for homeowners.

The lesson of Chinese drywall really points up the importance of home inspections for people who are undertaking a relocation. It’s not only the things that you can see that are a problem; more often than not, it’s the things you can’t see.

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