dslreports logo
site
 
    All Forums Hot Topics Gallery
spc

spacer




how-to block ads


Search Topic:
uniqs
4814
share rss forum feed


Dexter
Premium
join:2003-08-07
Beverly, MA
kudos:1

File a homeowner's claim or not?

Click for full size
Sandy dropped this tree on my house. Most of the weight ended up on the roof of my porch. The city took care of the tree, and all utilities have been restored. All that's left is a big stump in my yard.

Amazingly, when the tree was removed, there appears to be only very minor physical damage. There's bent gutter, one broken pane of glass and some small cracks in the cinder block foundation (on the mortar lines.. may or may not have been there before, I don't know)

What worries me, is any damage I may not be able to see. I've never filed a claim on my homeowner's insurance. Is it wise to call them and have them inspect for any structural damage? I have a $500 deductible, and I don't want my premium to skyrocket (or my policy canceled) if there's nothing wrong.
--
My Pbase Gallery

primeomega

join:2004-03-11
De Pere, WI
Your rates will not go up when you file a claim. People mistake the car side of insurance and home sometimes. What happens is if you have a claim, and you go to a new company, then you will start to pay more.

As for the claim, you might be better off to. If there is some dmg. you can not see, and that dmg does more dmg, you could get in trouble there.

Say there is a hole and water gets in somewhere. 6 months from now you find this out. You as the home owner did not mitigate your dmgs and now because of that, the org dmg caused more dmg. Could deny the claim.

I handle claim all day long and I am glad you do not have much dmg or anyone was hurt. I have seen some crazy stuff so far today!

Good luck, sure you will get lots of responses


mattmag
Premium,ExMod 2000-03
join:2000-04-09
NW Illinois
kudos:3
said by primeomega:

Your rates will not go up when you file a claim. People mistake the car side of insurance and home sometimes. What happens is if you have a claim, and you go to a new company, then you will start to pay more.

This information is not necessarily true. You may not experience a rate change with *a* claim, but if you have repeated claims within a certain period of time or a long claim history, I can assure you your rate will indeed be affected.


Jack_in_VA
Premium
join:2007-11-26
North, VA
kudos:1
Reviews:
·Millenicom
said by mattmag:

said by primeomega:

Your rates will not go up when you file a claim. People mistake the car side of insurance and home sometimes. What happens is if you have a claim, and you go to a new company, then you will start to pay more.

This information is not necessarily true. You may not experience a rate change with *a* claim, but if you have repeated claims within a certain period of time or a long claim history, I can assure you your rate will indeed be affected.

That information also is not necessarily true. It depends of the type of claim(s). Claims of this type caused by weather events generally do not count as a negative to the insurance companies for individual rating. Heavy loses may and do cause general rate increases for everyone in the area. My ex wife was a broker for numerous companies for 19 years and I have some direct knowledge.


dark_star

join:2003-11-14
Louisville
kudos:1

1 recommendation

reply to Dexter
My state (Kentucky) has a law against raising homeowner rates due to weather related claims. Your state may have a similar law.

In my opinion, your most prudent action would be to notify your insurance company and request an adjuster be sent out. He may find damage, possibly serious, that you missed.

Or, it may be nothing more than the damaged gutter. In which case, you could simply not follow through with collecting on the claim.


tschmidt
Premium,MVM
join:2000-11-12
Milford, NH
kudos:9
Reviews:
·G4 Communications
·Fairpoint Commun..
·Hollis Hosting
reply to Dexter
I'd advise filing a claim, especially if you have a replacement cost rider. Can't hurt to have a claims adjuster take a look.

As others have posted wind damage is considered an "act of God" not something you are responsible for.

Several years ago we had wind damage to the north facing roof, stripped off some shingles. Because we had replacement cost rider policy paid to reshingle the north side. Due to age it was impossible to match the existing shingles.

Either you or the adjuster should go into the attic and see if you can determine if there was any damage to the rood. That the tree was a hardwood was good. Hardwood branches tend to be more vertical then White Pine so are more likely to compress rather then punch a hole in the roof. But you can never tell unless you look thoroughly.

/tom


Grumpy
Premium
join:2001-07-28
NW CT
Reviews:
·Comcast
·AT&T Yahoo

4 edits
reply to Dexter
If your local agent* is user friendly, ask them to visit the damage site to discuss the issue without opening a claim file. A good agent will not only be helpful, but should explain in detail what your options are, before any claim would find it's way to the CLUE database, even as a $0 claim entry.

»www.privacyrights.org/fs/fs26-CLUE.htm

To blurt the obvious - having a current copy of your policy at hand would help them figure out your options so they don't have to retrieve it themselves. Wind damage and associated deductibles and coverage can be tricky and often specific coverage is offered ala carte to the insured as a separate issue within some homeowner's policies.

Forgive me for poking the hive, but policies vary widely by state, and are at their core - steeped in contract law. It is difficult at best for anyone but a rep of your carrier to advise you on anything beyond very basic info. I don't see how anyone can tell you what your future rates or other issues will be beyond MA state insurance law, and full knowledge of your specific policy.

I'm not trying to be controversial, just practical.

*If you call the carrier's 800 number / headquarters, a CLUE entry is likely to result, even as a $0 claim. The rep who answers the phone will want to know the details of your call, and will open a "file" on the call. Been there. Got a CLUE recording as a result even though I filed no claim and asked for no coverage.


leibold
Premium,MVM
join:2002-07-09
Sunnyvale, CA
kudos:10
Reviews:
·SONIC.NET
reply to Dexter
Pay attention to the reporting deadlines in your policy for events leading to a possible claim. Don't wait until you know for sure that there was substantial hidden damage.

You should definitely preserve your rights by notifying your insurance company about the fallen tree. You can mention that you would like to get your home inspected for structural damage but I'm not sure whether the insurance company would pay for an independent inspection (ask your insurance agent).
--
Got some spare cpu cycles ? Join Team Helix or Team Starfire!


Draiman
Let me see those devil horns in the sky

join:2012-06-01
Kill Devil Hills, NC
Reviews:
·Verizon FiOS
reply to Dexter
They won't raise your rate but you might lose a discount. I get a 10% annual discount for no claims in the last 5 years. I wouldn't put in a claim unless it was going to cost over $1,000 to fix. It can't hurt to call them and ask though.
--
IF YOU FIND ANY MISTAKES IN MY WORK...Please consider that they are there for a purpose. I try to please everyone and there is always someone looking for mistakes!


ropeguru
Premium
join:2001-01-25
Mechanicsville, VA
reply to Dexter
Given that you see very little damage and you did not have to pay for the tree removal, which can be expensive, I would say call them and see what they have to say. They may be able to provide some recommendations on a specialist to come over a survey any possible structural damage since you stated the tree landed on the porch.


mityfowl
Premium
join:2000-11-06
Dallas, TX
reply to Draiman
said by Draiman:

They won't raise your rate but you might lose a discount. I get a 10% annual discount for no claims in the last 5 years. I wouldn't put in a claim unless it was going to cost over $1,000 to fix. It can't hurt to call them and ask though.

Once you call it's on the record. Think 1st.


Draiman
Let me see those devil horns in the sky

join:2012-06-01
Kill Devil Hills, NC
Reviews:
·Verizon FiOS
said by mityfowl:

said by Draiman:

They won't raise your rate but you might lose a discount. I get a 10% annual discount for no claims in the last 5 years. I wouldn't put in a claim unless it was going to cost over $1,000 to fix. It can't hurt to call them and ask though.

Once you call it's on the record. Think 1st.

Like all insurance there's no negative impact unless they PAY on the claim. They might exclude the damaged area from coverage until you prove it's fixed if they don't pay the claim as well but that's all they can do. Personally I'd get a quote and handle it myself.
--
IF YOU FIND ANY MISTAKES IN MY WORK...Please consider that they are there for a purpose. I try to please everyone and there is always someone looking for mistakes!


Jack_in_VA
Premium
join:2007-11-26
North, VA
kudos:1
Reviews:
·Millenicom
reply to Draiman
said by Draiman:

They won't raise your rate but you might lose a discount. I get a 10% annual discount for no claims in the last 5 years. I wouldn't put in a claim unless it was going to cost over $1,000 to fix. It can't hurt to call them and ask though.

My discounts never changed after Isabel and Irene claims. Act of god loss

8744675

join:2000-10-10
Decatur, GA
reply to Dexter
Insurance companies have taken a bath with Katrina and more recent events. They're very touchy about claims. At one point I read they were dropping people who even inquired about filing a claim.

Your $500 deductible will probably cover the cost of fixing the gutter and removing the stump. I'd save the claim for when you really need it, like when the house burns down or the roof blows off.


bTU

join:2009-04-22
Aurora, CO
reply to Dexter
I'm not sure on the insurance laws in your area so I can not comment on if your rates would go up from one claim ever, though I highly doubt it given that it's weather related. Now you may see a raise in premiums that everyone in your area would also see, but that would be regardless if you filed one or not.

I'd do it even if the damage is less than your deductible. Like others said, the contractor or insurance's adjustor might find some damage you can't see at this moment and it's better to have the claim in now so it can all be covered on the same storm damage claim.


workablob

join:2004-06-09
Houston, TX
kudos:4
Reviews:
·Comcast
reply to 8744675
said by 8744675:

Insurance companies have taken a bath with Katrina and more recent events. They're very touchy about claims. At one point I read they were dropping people who even inquired about filing a claim.

Your $500 deductible will probably cover the cost of fixing the gutter and removing the stump. I'd save the claim for when you really need it, like when the house burns down or the roof blows off.

True that.

We filed late on IKE and were denied by Allstate.

We took them to arbitration and what would have cost them 6,000 cost them 42,000.

But, I guess most people roll over so it pays to deny a lot of claims.

Dave
--
I may have been born yesterday. But it wasn't at night.


KrK
Heavy Artillery For The Little Guy
Premium
join:2000-01-17
Tulsa, OK
reply to Dexter
Having experienced minor damage during a windstorm that I just fixed myself, I would just go that route. By all means check carefully for any serious damage, but it sounds like the damage may be less then it's worth to file the claim.

How much did it cost to remove the tree? That could be a factor in your decision.
--
"Fascism should more properly be called corporatism because it is the merger of state and corporate power." -- Benito Mussolini


Jack_in_VA
Premium
join:2007-11-26
North, VA
kudos:1
Reviews:
·Millenicom
reply to 8744675
said by 8744675:

Insurance companies have taken a bath with Katrina and more recent events. They're very touchy about claims. At one point I read they were dropping people who even inquired about filing a claim.

Your $500 deductible will probably cover the cost of fixing the gutter and removing the stump. I'd save the claim for when you really need it, like when the house burns down or the roof blows off.

They are not touchy. They just pick an area and not renew any of their policyholders or raise the premiums for all policyholders. Not just the ones who had a loss from a Katrina, Isabel, Irene etc. Allstate and Farm Bureau are doing that here now.

Insurance will fix the house but not remove the stump. Friends have been there done that. One friend had 4 pine trees on his house after Isabel and they paid to cut the trees off the house at the house and left the rest. They fixed the roof framing and replaced all the shingles. His rates did not go up but he was stuck with the cost of removing the remainder of the trees and grinding the stumps.

Insurance premiums will not go up or discounts cancelled because of these type claims.

»Re: File a homeowner's claim or not?


Jack_in_VA
Premium
join:2007-11-26
North, VA
kudos:1
Reviews:
·Millenicom
reply to Dexter
After Sandy: Tips on filing home insurance claims

quote:
In addition, New York, New Jersey, Rhode Island and 15 other states let insurers include deductibles in their homeowners' insurance policies in the event of a hurricane. Such deductibles vary from 1 percent to 5 percent of the insured value of the home. But each state makes its own determination on whether a storm will trigger those deductibles, so check with your state department of insurance to see if that will be a factor in your coverage.
Mine now is 1 percent but some have 5 percent. Depends on your insurance company and your relationship with it.


mityfowl
Premium
join:2000-11-06
Dallas, TX
reply to Dexter
I can't even afford a $1000 deductible policy anymore.

They have forced everyone in Texas to take a 1%, 2% or more % deductible through pricing.


Jack_in_VA
Premium
join:2007-11-26
North, VA
kudos:1
Reviews:
·Millenicom
said by mityfowl:

I can't even afford a $1000 deductible policy anymore.

They have forced everyone in Texas to take a 1%, 2% or more % deductible through pricing.

Our deductibles are standard unless it's a hurricane but Homeowners is getting very expensive and Flood Insurance is even worse.


Boricua
Premium
join:2002-01-26
Sacramuerto
reply to Dexter
I know this article is a little old but it might be relevant today about C.L.U.E. (comprehensive loss underwriting exchange. Unfortunately, I couldn't find any details if you don't file a claim if you are still marked in the C.L.U.E. database.
--
Illegal aliens have always been a problem in the United States. Ask any Indian. Robert Orben


battleop

join:2005-09-28
00000
reply to Dexter
If your rates sky rocket it's going to happen even if you don't contact them. If the rates go up it's going to be an increase for everyone in your area as a group and not on an individual basis.
--
I do not, have not, and will not work for AT&T/Comcast/Verizon/Charter or similar sized company.


Jack_in_VA
Premium
join:2007-11-26
North, VA
kudos:1
Reviews:
·Millenicom
said by battleop:

If your rates sky rocket it's going to happen even if you don't contact them. If the rates go up it's going to be an increase for everyone in your area as a group and not on an individual basis.

+1 Exactly the case


Msradell
P.E.
Premium
join:2008-12-25
Louisville, KY
reply to Dexter
Another advantage to filing a claim is that since the tree did hit your house homeowners insurance will also cover his removal. If it didn't hit the house they wouldn't. Just that cost should more than cover your deductible so everything else will be repaired without additional costs to you.

tcope
Premium
join:2003-05-07
Sandy, UT
kudos:2
reply to Dexter
You may want to have a contractor inspect the damage first and let you know. This way you'd know what you are looking at before you called your carrier. So far it looks to be a stump removal, some grass and your gutter. Probably close to your $500 deductible.


Jack_in_VA
Premium
join:2007-11-26
North, VA
kudos:1
Reviews:
·Millenicom
reply to Msradell
said by Msradell:

Another advantage to filing a claim is that since the tree did hit your house homeowners insurance will also cover his removal. If it didn't hit the house they wouldn't. Just that cost should more than cover your deductible so everything else will be repaired without additional costs to you.

»Re: File a homeowner's claim or not?

Not exactly. I have friends that the Homeowners only removed the part of the trees actually impacting the house leaving the rest to them. They actually had the tree companies cut them 2 or 3 ft off the roof and that was it. After Isabel my homeowners was very liberal but would not pay to take care of the fallen trees.

wth
Premium
join:2002-02-20
Iowa City,IA
Reviews:
·Mediacom
reply to tcope
said by tcope:

You may want to have a contractor inspect the damage first and let you know. This way you'd know what you are looking at before you called your carrier. So far it looks to be a stump removal, some grass and your gutter. Probably close to your $500 deductible.

+1
Roof trusses in attic need a good look and call the city, as that tree stump looks very close to the street and may well be in the cities right of way, which may make it their responsibility to remove, and not yours.


Grumpy
Premium
join:2001-07-28
NW CT
Reviews:
·Comcast
·AT&T Yahoo
reply to Boricua
said by Boricua:

I know this article is a little old but it might be relevant today about C.L.U.E. (comprehensive loss underwriting exchange. Unfortunately, I couldn't find any details if you don't file a claim if you are still marked in the C.L.U.E. database.

My wife backed her brand new car into a fixed object. I called the insurance carrier and asked 20 questions, but filed no claim. I popped the dent out myself when I discovered access the the backside was easy.

A few weeks later I checked CLUE. They listed a $0 claim for my one phone call. Don't know exactly how that impacts coverage or future rates, but I would have been OK if it wasn't there. One $0 claim is likely of no consequence, but if additional CLUE entries had occurred later on, the $0 claim could perhaps have had numeric significance to an actuarial review.

Lets just say that after thirty years of commercial haz mat transport fleet management, insurance companies are not my best friends.


Draiman
Let me see those devil horns in the sky

join:2012-06-01
Kill Devil Hills, NC
Reviews:
·Verizon FiOS
reply to Msradell
said by Msradell:

Another advantage to filing a claim is that since the tree did hit your house homeowners insurance will also cover his removal. If it didn't hit the house they wouldn't. Just that cost should more than cover your deductible so everything else will be repaired without additional costs to you.

The tree removal cost doesn't factor into the deductible as they said "The city took care of the tree" and only left the stump to deal with though. Given the actual damage the OP said needs to be fixed they will be hard pressed to recover any of their $500 deductible. I had a similar stump removed this year. It cost me $300 and they also removed 3 other smaller stumps and a row of bushes at the same time for that. The stump removal if it's the OP's responsibility should be $200-250, lawn repair maybe $50-75, and the gutter repair maybe $100-150. If there's any structural damage that would make it worth using insurance though.
--
IF YOU FIND ANY MISTAKES IN MY WORK...Please consider that they are there for a purpose. I try to please everyone and there is always someone looking for mistakes!