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Chinese Drywall Not Covered Under Homeowners Insurance

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Florida homeowners plagued by Chinese drywall should not expect insurance to pay to fix the problem.  According to the Florida Insurance Commissioner, Kevin McCarty, insurers have no obligation to cover defective Chinese drywall.

Speaking to state legislators, McCarty said having Chinese drywall in a home is “a malfunction based upon a defective material that was installed in the building. And that historically has been excluded from a homeowner’s policy.”  He also warned that homeowners could lose coverage altogether if they move out of their homes for extended periods of time under an “underwriting standard” that allows companies to drop coverage of unoccupied dwellings.

In McCarty’s view, drywall manufacturers are liable to the damage their wallboard has done to homes in Florida.  Hundreds of Chinese drywall homeowners in the U.S. have already  filed lawsuits hoping to recover restitution from Chinese manufacturers for the damage done to their homes, but the process is proving difficult.

For instance, one of the companies suspected of manufacturing tainted drywall, Taishan Gypsum Co. Ltd., is controlled by the Chinese government. As we reported previously, Taishan was recently hit with a default judgment by U.S. District Court Justice Eldon E. Fallon, who is overseeing the massive Chinese drywall litigation in federal court in Louisiana, for failing to respond to lawsuits.

The U.S. Consumer Products Safety Commission (CPSC) has received about 1,897 reports from residents in 30 states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico concerning Chinese drywall. Gases emitted from Chinese drywall are being blamed for significant property damage, including damage to HVAC systems, smoke detectors, electrical wiring, metal plumbing components, and other household appliances. These gases also produce a sulfurous odor that permeates homes, and cause metals, including air conditioning coils and even jewelry, to corrode.

Florida has long been deemed “ground zero” in the drywall disaster.  More than 1,300 reports to the CPSC have come from that state, and it is estimated that as many as 35,000 Florida homes could be impacted.

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