Insurance Companies Hang Customers Out to Dry

Posted January 15th, 2010
by HomeownersInsurance.org Staff (no comments)

clotheslineDealing with your insurance company can be something of a crap shoot. You never really know ahead of time how things are going to go. You might get lucky, and not have the homeowners insurance company make too big a fuss about your claim and just award you the damages you’re entitled to. Unfortunately, not everyone is so lucky.

Dragging Chains Across the Roof

Take, for example, the Sherrills of Gainseville, Georgia. Back in June of 2008, their home underwent a violent storm that produced hail the size of golf balls. The roof to the home was damaged, and they immediately called their insurance company.

The insurance company adjuster disagreed with what happened. The adjuster claimed that the damage had occurred “where somebody dragged chains” across the roof. Allstate, the couple’s homeowners insurance provider, initially paid just $70.53 on the claim.

The Sherrills, of course, didn’t take the matter lying down. They filed a complaint with the authorities in their state. It took nearly a year, plus damage estimates, photographs and even hiring of an independent inspector to get the insurance company to relent. Eventually, 11 months after the initial storm the Sherrills were paid $11,882 by the homeowners insurance company.

The Sherrills weren’t alone, however. Sticking in the same state, Georgia, statistics show that complaints to the Department of Insurance nearly doubled between the years 2007 and 2009. Specifically, complaints where the insurance company claimed that the damage to a home was caused by something other than what it was went up by as much as four times.

A Disturbing Trend

All across the country, homeowners insurance companies are tending toward being more adversarial with their customers, which is obviously not a positive trend. Insurance adjusters are following stricter standards than they have in the past.

In some cases, customers have been loyal to an insurance company for decades, only to find that their first and only claim with the company is denied.

For some folks, unforeseeable problems, like the recent issues involving insurance claims for Chinese drywall used in the construction of their homes has even led to cancellation of their insurance policies.

Consumer Tenacity is Key

The key to resolving this kind of insurance issue seems to be tenacity. For customers that follow up with their state departments of insurance and continue to press the insurance company for a satisfactory answer, the chances that things will work out all right exponentially grows.

Photo via Number Six (bill lapp)

Categories: News

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