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 Riding the Storm Out

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Join date : 2011-06-30
Age : 46
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PostSubject: Riding the Storm Out   Riding the Storm Out EmptyWed Sep 13, 2017 8:26 am

Riding the Storm Out
or "house insurance is a wonky affair"

Back on June 11 2017, my house was nearly struck by a tree, missing the kitchen by a couple feet. Instead of hitting the house, it got caught up in the powerline, bending the pole leading into the house along the roof, pulling the line tight against the edge of the roof, going under the tree, and then from the tree the line was tight leading back up to the power pole in the back yard.

Line did not snap, and was still live. I know this because some ceiling fans were still working, while some light bulbs were glowing a dark orange, and the fridge still kinda ran. This level of power lasted for quite a bit, and it wasn't until sometime in the following 24 hours that we finally had power cut off.

With that damage, and due to a subsequent power surge, we lost the upstairs air conditioner, the microwave, a couple hundred dollars of food (just did grocery shopping that Saturday), some light bulbs, a bunch of surge protectors, and a shredder. We thought nothing of it, most of the items were easily replaceable out of pocket. I did write our insurance agent and told them of the storm damage, and he said due to our deductible ($500), we'd have to pay for costs up to that amount before the insurance would actually kick in. Fair enough. As the minor appliances were easily replaced (We Store, Goodwill) we figured we were okay. The electrician we had come out to fix / replace the pole coming into the house came to just under $400, so we almost met our deductible. Now, the tree itself would have been covered (under debris removal); a driveway is considered a part of the structure for insurance purposes, and could have been granted us $300 in removal funds... but I told the agent we had friends with chainsaws who were more than happy to help.

So, in other words, insurance didn't do anything because we didn't actually claim anything... or rather, we didn't claim anything that we couldn't (or didn't) take care of ourselves. We cleaned things up, fixed things, replaced things, all on our own, while remaining "under cost" (ie, the $500 deductible).

Now, here is where things get wonky.

Last week or so, the evening and nighttime temperatures were a bit too cold for the mrs, so when she went to turn on the furnace, nothing happened. Furnace wasn't just kicking in, it wasn't getting power. The circuit breaker never blew (I replaced it just to make sure), and the fuses we have between the breaker and the furnace never burnt out (I replaced those too, just to make sure), and I even did the testing of the furnace where you remove this wire and put it over on that connection... if there was power, that test would have performed a force start. Nothing.

This led me to believe, correctly, that it was the transformer within the furnace that blew. We got an electrician to come out, he confirmed the transformer was the problem, $35 later it was replaced. But then he noted the gas valve was fried. That would be another $180... and, he informed us that if those didn't fix things, it would then be the motherboard, which is around $800. The electrician did say that this was all probably due from the storm, and that our insurance would be able to cover things (and who knows, maybe the cost of a new furnace would be more ideal than fixing a 20 year old unit).

This now brings us to yesterday.

An insurance inspector came out to our home to check on the furnace, as they couldn't just take the word of an electrician. Yep, transformer and gas valve were shot, and yes, it was due to the storm, but couldn't we just pay the costs of fixing? Getting a new furnace would be too much to ask... agent and electrician are working on the details right now. I'd like to get a new furnace, who wouldn't, but hey, as long as it works I'm good.

But, here's the kicker of things. Remember earlier when I wrote the insurance agency said it wouldn't really be worth filing an insurance claim of the deductible wasn't met? If I didn't say that, that's what happened... if repair costs were below $500, insurance wouldn't kick in, and there'd be nothing they would cover. Turns out, that isn't entirely accurate.

The inspector is reimbursing us for the lost food, the total dollar amount of having the tree removed (the $300), appliance replacement, roof damage, a few other smaller things, and the electrician that came out to fix our pole. Since we already paid that electrician, "you've pretty much already paid your deductible".

Now here's the wonky part: he wants to try to salvage a twenty year old furnace, but he was reimbursing us for expenses that there are no receipts to. How is this possible? If you don't need the receipts of the items lost, I can see how insurance companies are being scammed. We could have easily said "oh yeah, we lost three televisions and two PS4 devices, oh, and the Prius we had plugged in."
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