Friday, April 18, 2014

Insurance is a downer

I've been trying to keep things light-hearted by suggesting the best part about my house fire was the fire.

I have house insurance, and when I switched to this company when they were doing a recruitment drive at a corporation I used to work at, I kept the deductible low even though they warned me it would be a higher annual premium.

Since I've never had a house insurance claim, I'm not understanding how only having a deductible of $250 helps me because it seems my possible financial burden after insurance has completed what they will pay for will be substantially more than $250.

The insurance company has not concluded their assessment yet - even though I now have passed the 8 month anniversary of my fire.  And my hands are tied because of this statement in their initial letter 'Should you choose to proceed with the work before our review is complete, we may decline your request for additional payment.'

Their initial payment was itemized so I can see everything the insurance company doesn't think they should be responsible for.  Here's a minor example that they claim my lack of construction expertise makes me unqualified to judge: there was a dead-bolted door that the firemen went through to gain access to the basement - that's where the fire was.  What remains is a chunk of wood attached to hinges.

 The insurance company has walked through the house multiple times, and then came back in at the six-month mark to inspect again because they wanted to close my claim if I had begun making repairs, based on the statement above about 'proceeding with the work'.  Based on their expertise, what this door requires for restoration is 'prime & paint door slab only - exterior (per side)', and they sent me $10.26 to cover that.

In my pages of detailed response, I listed a request for a new door with deadbolt and other hardware like a knob.   So we're at a impasse for months because all I seem to be able to get is warnings about insurance fraud and statements that insurance is to repair and replace not to improve my house.  Improve?  In this very narrow example, the day of the fire began with a whole door there.

Likewise, I used to have ceilings and walls that they removed as smoke damaged, but now do not want to replace.  And with my lack of construction experience I erroneously think things like this look unsafe:

ceiling light without ceiling and bulb no longer seated in fixture

light switch lying on floor after wall removed

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