A potential lifeline for Connecticut homeowners stuck with crumbling concrete basements failed in the state Supreme Court.
NBC Connecticut Investigates broke the story about crumbling concrete four years ago.
Connecticut Supreme Court justices said because of language in their policies, insurance companies are not obligated to cover hundreds, perhaps thousands, of homes in the state with crumbling concrete basements.
The dispute over paying claims for crumbling concrete basements was all over the word “collapse”.
Insurance companies said that meant something that deteriorates over a period of years, and is not covered, since the collapse is not going to happen any time soon.
Attorneys for homeowners with crumbling basements argued that collapse suggests a structural integrity problem, and should be covered by insurers.
The justices said the term collapse is not vague, meaning the house would have to be falling down soon and uninhabitable to be covered.
Experts say crumbling basements are caused by a naturally occurring mineral used by a now defunct company between 1983 and 2016.
Fixing the problem can often cost between $150,000 to $200,000.
A small number of insurers have paid claims or settled with policyholders in the past.
An attorney who represents homeowners with crumbling basements said the ruling will likely mean no insurers will honor claims for crumbling basements going forward.
There's no word if homeowners will appeal this opinion.
Congressman Joe Courtney released a statement after the Connecticut Supreme Court released their decision.
“Today’s decisions by the Connecticut Supreme Court unfortunately rewards the insurance industry’s concerted efforts to avoid the risk of crumbling foundations, rather than share the risk across the millions of policy holders,” he said.
“As major stakeholders who stand to lose market value the longer this problem festers, hopefully the industry will take a longer view and step up as they should to join state, local and federal officials who have provided tangible relief to fix this problem," Courtney added.