By Cheryl Lucas
We knew something wasn’t right when the washer and the kitchen sink overflowed. My son didn’t get very far when he tried to snake the drain. He believed that the drain pipe had collapsed under the slab foundation. Because my carpet in the hallway and into the living room was soaked and we feared the worst on what repairs were going to consist of, I started a claim with my homeowners insurance.
I work at Isch Insurance Services and help clients file claims every day but, when it happens to you, suddenly you are on the other side of the claim experience. The person at the claims center was sympathetic, reassuring, and helped to guide me on what needed to be done. She got right to work taking all my information and what had happened in my home. Because there was so much water and we were walking through it and carrying the “yuk” into other rooms as we moved around, the first thing we needed to do was to get the water up to keep the damage from getting worse.
We contacted Service Master Advantage, a local company that helps to restore homes and businesses after water, fire, and mold damage. Even though it was getting late in the evening, in short order, two young men were there who immediately started removing the wet carpet and setting up fans and dehumidifiers. They opened closet and cabinet doors to help make sure all moisture in the house was removed to prevent mold and odor. Although we had the equipment running in our home for about three days – and it was loud! – Service Master was very good about explaining everything and they came back every day to monitor the progress of drying the house.
The insurance company arranged for Brenneco Plumbing to come to evaluate the damage. The plumber also snaked the drain and ran a camera through the pipe. He could only go about 10 feet and couldn’t see anything with his camera because of the amount of water still in the line. He had to come back a second day with a different piece of equipment that could locate – through the slab – where the camera was stopping and pinpoint exactly where the damage was. Thank goodness he was able to do that because the collapsed pipe wasn’t located at all where any of us guessed it would be!
The adjuster on this claim, Travis Jones, was at my home evaluating my loss while the plumber was there the first time. Travis was very thorough – measured almost all the rooms in my house (because of tracking damage into other rooms in the house) and sat down with me and detailed all of my coverage. He explained the process for everything and answered all my questions.
I was able to choose Total Home by DJ as the general contractor to do the repair work at my home and it was scheduled shortly before Christmas. Luckily, I have coverage on my home policy that provides access to plumbing under a slab – I highly recommend this coverage if you are on a slab foundation! My biggest fear when they were doing the repairs was that all of my Christmas decorations would jump off my tree or shake to the floor when they begin to jack-hammer through the concrete. But the decorations didn’t “travel” and nothing was broken; they were considerate of my property. For the four days that it took for Total Home to break into the concrete, replace the collapsed drain line, fill the hole, pour new concrete, let it dry, and clean up, the insurance company provided loss of use coverage for us (my brother, me, and my little dog) and we were able to stay in a suite at a very nice local hotel.
The insurance company arranged for Millers Flooring to replace my flooring. They came and measured everything and sent a sample of my old carpet to be tested (for quality) so the insurance company could evaluate what the replacement cost for new carpet would be. I went to Millers and selected which carpet I wanted from what was in my replacement price range although I could have upgraded and paid the difference in cost out of pocket. The carpet came in to be installed mid-January – which worked well because it gave us time to get through Christmas and get my tree down. When the carpet installation day came, the two workers were quick and quiet. We had moved the smaller pieces of furniture before they came and they moved the larger pieces (and put them back). They did a good job installing and in cleaning up afterward. Finally! My home was back to normal!
Through it all, the adjuster stayed in contact with me, answered all of my questions, and checked to make sure I was satisfied with the work that was done. I was very happy with everyone who worked on my home. I was so relieved when I found out that, other than the deductible that I had to pay, my homeowners’ policy would cover EVERYTHING – drying the home out, the plumber, the general contractor to access and fix the pipe, and the hotel – EXCEPT replacing the actual pipe itself. Because the pipe was under the slab, it was considered to be outside of the house and wasn’t covered by my home policy. BUT the good news was that the actual pipe was very inexpensive to replace.
This was a very stressful situation for my family (including the dog!). But, I now have a much better understanding of what our clients are going through when they have to file a claim. I am so thankful I had great coverage, a conscientious adjuster, and repair people who were fast, did good work and were respectful of my property.
If it’s been a while since you’ve had a review of your home policy, schedule an appointment with our office to go over your policies. Make sure you have the right coverage now rather than finding out in the middle of a home disaster that you don’t have the coverage you need!