It's sad that we can no longer trust those around us, those we depend on to survive and thrive. Living defensively isn't fun for anyone but it's the new world we live in. Even our kids have to prepare for threats at school. When we buy homeowner insurance, we expect support when an emergency arrives. My personal experience with a flooded house, confirms you can't trust your insurance company so …
This diary documents my personal journey through a homeowner insurance claim, which can only be described as a nightmare. You'll get a glimpse into the emotional roller coaster you'll experience when you take this ride totally unprepared. Yes, it's estimated that 50% of the homes in the US have been involved in some type of water emergency.
Sadly the very people who should have helped me restore my house to it's pre-loss condition quickly, focused on their own business objectives.
- My insurance company focused on ways to deny the claim, sending a forensic engineer out to inspect a sink supply line? According to the water mitigation team, the in-house adjuster told them to touch nothing!
- The water mitigation company who followed the direction of the in-house adjuster. At the same time they told me they were removing all the cabinet toe kicks and baseboard to dry the house out … but didn't.
So I've come up with a nickname for these people who pretended to help. The clowns did sweep the remaining water out of the house. After this they pretended to take the next step in drying out a house. They brought in lots of fans and dehumidifiers but these don't accomplish anything unless you remove toe kicks, baseboard and drywall!
- Read How to Dry Out Kitchen Cabinets, to learn why the clowns fans were next to useless.
- Read Replacing Baseboard After a Flood to learn how easy it is to accomplish this task with a few hand tools and maybe 15 minutes training (article includes a link to a great training video).
key activities related to my water damage claim. It identifies things done right and things done wrong, by myself and my insurance company. The goal is to make your claim process go more smoothly.
Check Online Reviews for Insurance Claims Gone Wrong?
When you buy a car you check online reviews. When buying homeowner insurance, check online reviews to learn how well the company handles claims. Don't want to take the time? The research will make you a more educated consumer when buying insurance and … when someday, you have to work through a claim!
Scorecard – Done wrong because I foolishly made my decision based on cost and the recommendation of my insurance agent. Stacy said “… both our owners have Company XYZ for their homeowner insurance”, so if those who know the industry trust them, it seemed safe to do likewise.
Read the Insurance Policy … Before You Pay!
Would you buy a car without taking it for a test ride? Buying a house is even more challenging as you can't see inside the walls, the HVAC system and other critical features. That's why you need a home inspection as they know where to look, and no they can't see inside the walls either. Your homeowner insurance policy is just as important as your house, maybe even more important as an emergency can affect your life as well as your home.
I'm pretty good about reading documents before I sign them. For the closing on my house, I asked Allison at First American Title to send the documentation ahead of time … or the closing would take several hours. So it was surprising that I couldn't find my homeowner policy after the house flooded.
First I called my insurance agent for a copy of my policy. All Stacey was able to send me was a marketing brochure … really? This was sad as I'd gotten to know my Allstate agent in New Hampshire, who helped me on the only other claim I've ever had.
Here are all the steps I went through to get a copy of my homeowner insurance policy.
- Exchanged multiple emails with insurance agent, finally giving up when I realized she was clueless.
- Tried the insurance company website which is horrible. While the company states “For your convenience, all of your policy information is now available online …” this is a joke. It's there but you've got to download 37 different documents and save them using the browser (portal download … downloads nothing). Then you have to assemble 50+ pages into one document?
- Next I asked the public adjuster for a copy of the policy, as part of his responsibility is to review and determine the coverage I have for the claim. He failed to do this and many other things, so he was fired!
- Finally asked the in-house adjuster for a copy of the policy and finally got it. Now I've asked why it's a “certified copy” as this makes no sense to me.