A little over a week ago, my washing machine’s fill switch malfunctioned. My wife had started the washing machine and left to run a few errands. Though she’s probably done this thousands of times over the years, this time was different. The washing machine never stopped filling the tub with water. It overflowed and dumped 350 to 400 gallons of water throughout our home, thoroughly soaking our carpet, hardwood floors, baseboards, sheetrock, and a few cabinets.
I have homeowners insurance through State Farm which sent out an adjuster three days later. His first response was, “This carpet should have already been removed,” but by the time he left, he had decided that we needed to dry, clean, and keep it because of his highly scientific kneeling test. He kneeled down and when his blue jeans weren’t soaked (they were wet, but not”soaked through”), he decided it just wasn’t that bad. I thoroughly disagree … and so does the manufacturer.
That doesn’t matter to State Farm. The only thing that matters is that the restoration company claims they dried it and cleaned it. It doesn’t matter that the closed cell foam padding was declared WET for four full days (and is still damp 8 days later). It doesn’t matter that mold probably will develop. It doesn’t matter that the manufacturer (Shaw Floors), states in their technical bulletins that cleaning rarely works and that the floor should be replaced.
When I complained to State Farm via visits to the local agent, phone calls, and Twitter (State Farm is now following my tweets), I did get a call from someone who said the “Chairman’s Office” was getting involved. I spoke to a very nice guy who told me to just give the cleaning a chance (like I have a choice?). The result? No change. Just promises that if the cleaning doesn’t removed the damp, dank, musty smell, that they’ll send the SAME ADJUSTER out to evaluate it. When he was here previously, he claimed he couldn’t smell anything … even though everyone else who comes to visit DOES. As a matter of fact, that same adjuster told me to go onto Youtube and find a video on how to repair my own washing machine. Yeah, like I will EVER feel comfortable using that washing machine ever again – not unless I’m standing right over it. This same guy claimed that our antique china cabinet just needed to have the baseboard replaced. “I’m not going to ‘allow’ for it,” he said.
At this point, I’m planning to complain again on Monday and if my concerns once again fall on deaf ears, I’ll pursue “other options” that could easily cost a LOT more than just replacing my floor. Why have insurance if the company only specializes in collecting premiums and denying claims?
Yes, these are the actual photos. Notice that the towels are floating! There is about 1500 sq ft of damaged carpet and carpet pad. We have 250 sq ft of damaged hardwood, several hundred feet of baseboard, damaged sheetrock, and worst of all — the potential for mold since State Farm wants us to keep this ruined carpet and carpet pad.
How much do you want to bet that if this had happened at a State Farm executive’s home, there would have been no question that the carpet and carpet pad would get replaced?
Check out your homeowners insurance company BEFORE you have a claim. See what complaints exist online. Ask the agent if you can speak with claimants. Talk to everyone you can to get a good idea of how the company handles claims because THAT’S REALLY THE ONLY THING THAT MATTERS.
Another alternative is to get your own private adjuster. You may have to pay for it yourself, but chances are pretty good that a private adjuster may be able to get a better settlement for you.
Links of the week
- Should You Own An International Real Estate Fund?
- How Much Income Will You Need in Retirement?
- 5 Lessons Dave Ramsey Taught Me About Healthy Living
- Who Pays The Bill?
- Flexible Spending Accounts (FSA) Changes for 2011
- Minimum Income to File Taxes
- Creating a Financial Plan for Free
- 15 Ways to Make Money
- TurboTax Online Tax Software 2010 Review
- The Internship Experience– Reflections From a College Intern
- Should I Sell My House Now or Wait?”
- Mint.com Canadian Review
- Scottrade Review: $7 Trades and Local Offices
- Learning the Frugal Ropes from Mom
- 10 Easy Ways to Save Money
- Should You Pay Off Debt Or Save For Retirement?
- Will Your Tax Return Be Flagged for an Audit?
- 100 Words On: Why You’re Better Off Buying A Used Car
- The Best Personal Finance Books – According to 38 Personal Finance Bloggers
- Tax Time: The Difference Between Tax Deduction And Tax Credit
- Why you’re lazy and can’t break bad habits
- Book Review – 168 Hours: You Have More Time Than You Think By Laura Vanderkam