Homeowners Insurance...to file a claim or not to file a claim.....

Discussion in 'After Hours Lounge (Off Topic)' started by Tim K, Jan 6, 2004.

  1. Tim K

    Tim K Second Unit

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    We have homeowners through Allstate Insurance (so we are in good hands!). We've had it since we bought our home in July of 2002. Last week, the hot water supply line to our 3rd floor bathroom sprung a leak. I didn't know it for about 5 days....until the floorboards in the 2nd floor hallway started twisting and coming up.

    I noticed this on New Years day...after a long night of partying. I backtracked into the second floor bathroom and found a small puddle in the corner behind the door. There were water stains up the wall to the ceiling and along the ceiling. I took down part of the ceiling to reveal the leaking pipe. I had the pipe fixed and took down about 30 sq feet of sopping wet drywall.

    Not exactly the best way to cure a hangover!

    To summarize: One bathroom wall and part of the bathroom ceiling were basically destroyed, the bathroom door frame is warped so I can't close the door, about 20 sq feet of hardwood floor is warped and stained (part of two rooms), and now the ceiling on the first floor is wet and showing a stain. Based on the amount of water dripping in the 24hrs since I found the leak (about 1 gallon per day) I'd guess about 5 gallons of water passed through the floors. The plywood under the floor is still wet 4 days later.

    Our deductible is $1000. I'm sure the floors alone will cost over $700 to repair. The question is, should I file a claim and let Allstate pay or should I go out of pocket to fix the floors and do the rest myself? I'll probably do all the drywall and painting anyway, is it worth it to have a "claim" on our account? Is there "hidden" damage that I'm not thinking about that could come back to bite me in the ass if I don't file????

    Never dealt with homeownership and insurance before so I don't know the ins and outs....

    Thanks,
     
  2. Brandon_T

    Brandon_T Screenwriter

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    Eat the cost. In the early fall, I had a severe roof leak. I have $1000 deductible. I re roofed half of my house at a cost to me of roughly $1000. I spoke with my agent, but she informed me that in this current day that a claim that would be several thousands of dollars would surely affect my renewal the following year.

    It sucks, and kinda makes insurance a waste unless you have a catastrophic claim. That is the way it goes though. I have never had a claim and that is how they act. [​IMG]
     
  3. Tim K

    Tim K Second Unit

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    See, that sort of thing pisses me off when it comes to insurance. Your rates are supposed to be "risk" and "value" based are they not? With Auto insurance, I understand that if you get in an accident or get a speeding ticket...that means you are a higher risk and your rates will go up. But how does having a pipe burst, or a roof leak justify a rate increase or policy acceptance? That would be like health insurance premiums going up every time you get sick.
     
  4. Jason GT

    Jason GT Second Unit

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    Tim,

    It's partly risk, it's also claims history. A house with past claims is essentially a higher risk.

    Insurance like any other business is about making money, and for better or for worse, each claim costs the insurance company money.

    Often a small claim is simply not worth it given deductible and the increase in premium (or loss of no-claims discount). At the very least though you should be covered in event of a fire or earthquake -- unless your policy specifically excludes these coverages!
     
  5. Drew Bethel

    Drew Bethel Screenwriter

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    I just have a few things to add with what has already been written:

    (1) Do NOT call the insurnace agent for any info...not even questions about the damage. They will file the call in your records and it can hurt you later on even if you fix it out of your own pocket. You can always get an estimate for damage first and then based on the $$'s can decide to file or not.

    (2) Mention the word "water" and most insurance people freak.
     
  6. Danny Tse

    Danny Tse Producer

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    I used to work as a property claims adjuster for one of the major insurance companies, and my advice is to forget about the claim on this one. When I was working there, the underwriters will consider dropping coverage if there're 2 "incidents" every 2 years. Believe me, you don't want to file a claim over this.

    I've heard that nowadays the insurance companies will "put a checkmark by your name" even if you just call in and ask about your coverage. I saw this on the news, so take that for what it's worth.

    My advice to everyone....get a copy of your policy, read it and understand it. They don't vary that much from company to company. And they are quite self-explanatory.
     
  7. Steve Ridges

    Steve Ridges Stunt Coordinator

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    My previous house developed a crack in the foundation that allowed for severe water damage in the basement. I filed a claim with State Farm and had it repaired. My rates did NOT increase. 2 years later, I sold that house and bought a new one. I went back to State Farm and they would not insure my new home. I started to shop around for coverage and the first question each company asked is if i've had any claims in the last 5 years. Since I did, this put me in a higher price bracket. Allstate ending up being the cheapest so we went with them.

    When we were setting up the coverage, the salesman wanted to add coverage for my wifes jewelry incase she lost her wedding ring or something. I asked what would happen if I made a claim for something like that. He said that after your second claim, you get dropped. Then he said that since I already had one claim (it wasn't even with them) that I would be dropped immediately if use my insurance within 3 years. Sounds like I'm really in good hands eh?

    I skipped the extra coverage and as luck would have it, she lost her ring

    [​IMG]
     
  8. Danny Tse

    Danny Tse Producer

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    Check your home owner's policy for limits on jewelry, electronics, work-related items (like a laptop, for example), baseball card collection (yes, there is extra coverage you can buy for baseball card collections), etc....

    You will be surprised what is covered on a homeowner's policy (in a good way) and what is not (limitations). 70 feet of stolen wood fence....covered. Hearing-aid chewed up by your dog while you were sleeping....not covered.
     
  9. MikeAlletto

    MikeAlletto Cinematographer

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    Homeowners insurance is such a scam. In Texas its EXTREMELY difficult to find insurance because of all the whining about mold that people did. In fact I had to change my car insurance company just to get insurance on my house before I closed. They wouldn't just give me homeowners insurance, I needed another policy with them. I searched around with all the big companies and none of them would offer a new policy in texas. I went with Liberty Mutual because a friend had insurance with them and at least I had heard of the name. I had some info on smaller companies but they were all really expensive and I didn't feel comfortable going with some no-name company.

    Set your deductable as high as you can. Mainly use your homeowners insurance only for things that are extreme damages. A fire, tornado, or something else destroying your home. Other than that its not worth filing a claim, it will just screw up your ability to get insurance later.
     

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