Author Topic: When have you made a homeowner's insurance claim?  (Read 3862 times)

justajane

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When have you made a homeowner's insurance claim?
« on: October 12, 2015, 01:06:22 PM »
We have two possible issues on our home that could be claimed by our homeowner's insurance. Several people have acted like we are crazy not to do it. I remain unconvinced, mainly because I want my insurance to be willing to cover something when it really matters like in the case of fire.

Case #1 - The original plumbing is leaking/failing in our upstairs bathroom. Cost to fix is $4500. I'm not even sure they would cover this at all. They would likely cover the plaster damage or water damage, but that's it right? Our deductible is 1K. We are fixing this regardless, though.

Case #2 - We had a pretty bad hailstorm this past spring, and the roof vultures are out in full force. No discernible damage to our roof. It's 8-9 years old. Our addition roof is only 3 years old. I'm just loathe to mess with it, especially considering the fact that we have solar panels. It would cost ca. $500-1K to pay a solar company to remove them and re-install them after the new roof. Plus the potential it isn't done correctly. I would say I've seen at least 2 dozen houses in our area get new roofs.

Before this happened, I was weighing the option of one day putting on a metal roof. I wonder if insurance would pay a portion of that instead?  It just seems un-Mustachian and un-environmental to replace a perfectly good roof just because roofing companies are capitalizing on a hail storm to generate more business. I imagine another hail storm will occur in the next few years if we want to pull the trigger then. The current roof was put on courtesy of a hail storm.

So, fellow Mustachians, when have you made a claim? Conversely, when have you decided not to?

ShoulderThingThatGoesUp

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Re: When have you made a homeowner's insurance claim?
« Reply #1 on: October 12, 2015, 01:19:37 PM »
We were away from the house for a week during the winter. Our furnace fan ate a wire, which shorted out the thermostat. A pipe froze and popped out of a fitting, pouring water from the ceiling into the lowest finished level of our split-level. About 1000 square feet of floor totally ruined, most of the drywall totally ruined, etc. The insurance company (Liberty Mutual) tried to give us like $12,000. After putting a lawyer relative in touch with them we ended up with a $55,000 claim.

(This happened in December and our daughter had been born in November. One hell of a winter.)

For a leaking pipe not related to an extraordinary event I wouldn't mess with insurance. It's awful.

Thegoblinchief

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Re: When have you made a homeowner's insurance claim?
« Reply #2 on: October 12, 2015, 03:41:34 PM »
I don't think either is a claim. #1 falls under maintenance, not an extraordinary event or accident. #2 well, you yourself said there's no discernible damage. A metal roof would also NOT be the correct answer in hail country.

We've made two claims on our insurance, both settled incredibly well.

1. Break-in with lots of electronics stolen. Our adjuster made it easy for us. Some things we needed to replace ASAP, they cut us a check when submitting receipts. Most of the rest we could wait a few days. The insurance company had a contractor talk with me, figure out what everything was and find the closest replacements. A couple hours later he called to say everything was in stock at the local Best Buy. All I had to do was drive out and pick it up.

2. Lost a wedding ring. They cut us a check for the insured value with minimal Q&A.

Insurance company is West Bend Mutual. Pretty sure they are only in WI. Rates aren't the cheapest but they're certainly competitive. We've also had a claim on our auto policy through them and it was also seamless.

What's the point of insurance if you fear making a claim?

maco

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Re: When have you made a homeowner's insurance claim?
« Reply #3 on: October 12, 2015, 03:57:44 PM »
We've made one claim. Four months after buying the house, the sewer pit backed up and coated our wall-to-wall carpeted basement in sewage. Ew.

justajane

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Re: When have you made a homeowner's insurance claim?
« Reply #4 on: October 12, 2015, 04:18:29 PM »
#2 well, you yourself said there's no discernible damage. A metal roof would also NOT be the correct answer in hail country.

[...]

What's the point of insurance if you fear making a claim?

I highly doubt you have to prove that much damage when a very large hail storm has been documented in the area. It's seems unlikely that every single house around me got insurance to pay and they wouldn't on my house. I think these companies have getting insurance to get a new roof after a hail storm down to a science.

But you bring up a good point about hail and a metal roof, although I would say we only get hail once or twice a season.

I don't fear a claim, but it is indeed true that insurance companies look at your past history when determining your rates and it also might influence how they would treat you during a major claim. The friend who said she has made several claims over the last few years said she was dropped from her insurance. I don't doubt those two things are unrelated. Unfair or not, it would be a stressful situation and one I don't want to undergo that scenario needlessly.

Also, we have knob and tube wiring and are somewhat limited in who will cover us in the first place.

I don't know, in my mind home insurance is for major events like a fire, major flooding like maco and ShoulderThingThatGoesUp had, etc. Apparently others view it differently, though. I was just curious what Mustachians have or have not claimed in the past.

Setters-r-Better

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Re: When have you made a homeowner's insurance claim?
« Reply #5 on: October 12, 2015, 05:18:49 PM »
I don't think they will cover #1, but you can check...we're paying out of pocket for something similar, I think that's viewed as wear and tear.

#2 - I guess I don't see how you can make a claim if there's no damage?

We made a claim at beginning of year. Pipe broke in our basement (appears to be due to incorrect remodeling by previous owners causing pipe to freeze)..soaked sheetrock and carpet. We tried to dry it out ourselves, but it started getting moldy, so we made a claim. Our deductible was 2k (ouch), insurance co paid another $12K in repairs (they were able to save carpet and upper portions of sheetrock, had to replace padding, half of sheetrock, and repaint, plus repair pipes and ceiling).

Zamboni

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Re: When have you made a homeowner's insurance claim?
« Reply #6 on: October 12, 2015, 05:46:35 PM »
I recently made a claim after hail damage to my roof. It was from big hail stones. The insurance company sent their own adjustor, who took lots of photos to document the damage, and then they mailed me the check and I hired a reputable roofer. No hassle was involved (MetLife).

About 15 years ago we made a claim for water damage to a townhouse we owned. The neighbor had a plumbing-related flood that damaged our drywall and flooring as well. That was a lot more hassle (Allstate). Basically they wanted us to sue the neighbor for it, and we explained that the flood was an accident, not negligence, and in any case we have insurance for a reason. We rent round and round but they finally paid for the damage to our property.

TrumanGrad

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Re: When have you made a homeowner's insurance claim?
« Reply #7 on: October 12, 2015, 05:48:40 PM »
Have you had an inspector tell you there isn't any damage or are you guys just eyeballing it?

We are in the process of making a claim to have our roof replaced along with some gutter guards and downspouts as well as re-staining our deck due to a major hail storm.  First I had the same home inspector that inspected the home when we bought it four years ago (whom we trust) come out and give us his opinion since he wouldn't try to sell us a roof OR try to deny a claim (in other words he had no dog in the fight).  Because we had referred others to him, he chraged us $20.  He saw enough damage after getting up on the roof and thought we had grounds for a claim.  I then had a highly rated roofing company come out and they verified that there were enough hail hits/dents in a 10 x 10 area (which is the insurance industry standard) to suggest we would have a successful claim.  Only then did we file and have an adjuster come out.  I believe some insurance companies can raise your rates if you have an adjuster come out even if you don't end up following through on the claim so that is why we did the above before filing.

The adjuster came out, approved e claim, and we are getting a new roof (roof was 13 years old), new gutter guards, some new downspouts and have our deck restained for the price of our deductible.

Sorry if I missed it but how old is your roof?  Do you have replacement coverage on your insurance or will it only cover the depreciated cost of your current roof?  These would factors influence whether or not to make a claim.

SwordGuy

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Re: When have you made a homeowner's insurance claim?
« Reply #8 on: October 12, 2015, 06:41:16 PM »
We had a huge hailstorm come through our area about 5 years back.

We got a new roof out of it for about $1000, which was incredibly awesome because we figured we needed to replace it in about 3 years anyway.

Both our cars were also totaled from the dents in them caused by the hail.

Think about that for a moment.

STEEL cars were dented so much that they were totaled.

What do you think those hailstones did to my soft asphalt shingles?   

That's why the insurance replaced them.

justajane

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Re: When have you made a homeowner's insurance claim?
« Reply #9 on: October 12, 2015, 07:04:40 PM »
Our main roof is about 10 years old, but the addition roof is 3 years old.

The hail was not that large. It was just a very large amount of it that came down for about 20 minutes. Our cars were not damaged at all, but that was in large part because they were parked between two homes. Our other neighbors had very minor damage to their cars. Honestly I'm surprised by how many of my neighbors are getting "free" roofs out of this event. We've had quite a few calls from companies, none of whom I would use. It all seems very arbitrary and shady from my perspective. Just because we can get a "free" roof doesn't necessarily mean that we should.

We have a roofing company we trust. I guess I could just call them to take a look. They came out when we put our solar panels on a few years back. The roofer from the solar company thought we could bamboozle the insurance company into getting a new roof then. I forgot why he said that time that he could convince them. We got a second opinion from our regular roofers, and they thought the roof looked perfectly fine and scoffed at the idea that we would need one.

I know what bad hail damage looks like. I had a car totaled a few years back from it. This was not anything close to this. It just seems like a lot of hassle with regard to the panels. When we had the roofers out two years ago, they said a shingle roof should last for 20+ years. From an environmental perspective, it bothers me that I would get a new roof just because I can.

But I recognize that some people would find my perspective silly.

My husband and I were just thinking about it, and almost every roof we can think of in our friend circle has been replaced "free" because of hail damage.

TrumanGrad

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Re: When have you made a homeowner's insurance claim?
« Reply #10 on: October 12, 2015, 07:23:41 PM »
Justajane,

Insurance companies don't want to pay claims unless they absolutely must, so if that many people are getting new roofs in your area, I would guess the damage was significant enough to have your roof thoroughly inspected.

justajane

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Re: When have you made a homeowner's insurance claim?
« Reply #11 on: October 12, 2015, 07:41:21 PM »
Justajane,

Insurance companies don't want to pay claims unless they absolutely must, so if that many people are getting new roofs in your area, I would guess the damage was significant enough to have your roof thoroughly inspected.

Thanks, yes, I will call them tomorrow and have the roofing company we trust come out. Part of my hesitation is with the aggressive tactics of the door to door roofing companies who harass you and pretty much show up every time we have a storm of any sort.  They're like ambulance chasers looking for a payday. We had one company call us last week from Kansas City. We live in St. Louis!

I know my next door neighbor who is somewhat clueless when it comes to home ownership in general is going with one of the door to door ones, which IMO is a bad idea. Roofing scams do exist (http://www.angieslist.com/articles/roofing-scam-storm-chaser.htm) and many of these companies do commit fraud or leave you with an inferior product. The neighbors across the street used the worst roofers. It took them 10 days to finish the roof, and now it looks like shit. I feel bad for them. 

TrumanGrad

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Re: When have you made a homeowner's insurance claim?
« Reply #12 on: October 13, 2015, 03:52:25 PM »
Justajane,

Insurance companies don't want to pay claims unless they absolutely must, so if that many people are getting new roofs in your area, I would guess the damage was significant enough to have your roof thoroughly inspected.

Thanks, yes, I will call them tomorrow and have the roofing company we trust come out. Part of my hesitation is with the aggressive tactics of the door to door roofing companies who harass you and pretty much show up every time we have a storm of any sort.  They're like ambulance chasers looking for a payday. We had one company call us last week from Kansas City. We live in St. Louis!

I know my next door neighbor who is somewhat clueless when it comes to home ownership in general is going with one of the door to door ones, which IMO is a bad idea. Roofing scams do exist (http://www.angieslist.com/articles/roofing-scam-storm-chaser.htm) and many of these companies do commit fraud or leave you with an inferior product. The neighbors across the street used the worst roofers. It took them 10 days to finish the roof, and now it looks like shit. I feel bad for them.

We live in St. Louis too! Are you talking about the storm that came through on 6/28 or a different one?  Like I said we are getting a new roof, new gutter guards, some new downspouts, and restaining of our deck all from the 6/28 which produced really nasty hail in our section of town.

And I agree I would not use a storm chaser roofing company.

This is the first time we have made a claim through our homeowners insurance, so all I can say we thought the damage made it worth filing.

Lots of people in our area are getting new roofs - it would be funny if we live near each other!