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Parent's being screwed by home insurance! :(

AwkAwk Registered User regular
edited August 2011 in Help / Advice Forum
Thanks for reading this, very much appreciated. Here we go,

So my parents just now brought me up to speed a problem they've been having since May. During the last winter, we had a ton of snowfall. Although we paid someone to remove the snow from the roof eventually (as most people in the province of Alberta, Canada have), the roof of the front of the home has caved in a bit. My parents have home insurance and have sent a claim to get it repaired. The tardy rep, eventually told them that she will send an engineer down to make sure the damage wasn't caused by a different cause. She did no such thing and sent my parents a letter indicating this:

"Thank you for notifying us about your loss caused by water. I have now completed my investigation.

Your property is insured by our Comprehensive Form policy. This loss was caused by rot. There does not appear to be coverage available for your loss due to the follow exclusions: caused by rust, corrosion, wet or dry fungi lor spores, bacteria, condensation, acid rain or contamination. "

We sent a reply letter as following:

"Ms ***,

With respect to your letter, we reject your conclusion that the roof dmaage was caused by rot. You have not provided any evidence of rot. Furthermore, the roof was re-shingled in 2007 and no indications of rot or other damage was present.

We assert that the roof was damaged in 2011 due to snow load.

Please contact us by August 9th 2011 with a plan forward, otherwise we will have no choice but to proceed with formal legal actions. We hope that this matter can be resolved equitably without a lenghty and costly legal battle. "

The letter was dated the 1st of August. Today is the 21th of August. We are yet to hear from the rep. We called the office friday and tried to get in touch with her. The secretary notified us she wasn't present (not surprising, three times in a row now?). We explained our problem and she gave us the number to the supervisor in charge of complaints. He wasn't present. We left a message and are expecting a call on monday. Fingers crossed.

So, regarding H/A.... anything will help.... where do we stand... what should we do.... what to expect? We've had home insurance for 10 years with not a single claim. We need this assessed before next winter in fear of the roof collapsing!

Awk on


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    KakodaimonosKakodaimonos Code fondler Helping the 1% get richerRegistered User regular
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    kaliyamakaliyama Left to find less-moderated fora Registered User regular
    lawyer up! you may have a limited time to seek recourse after a denial. i don't know any of the applicable law for your jurisdiction, so go speak to a lawyer who handles insurance coverage matters.

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    jkylefultonjkylefulton Squid...or Kid? NNID - majpellRegistered User regular
    The key will be proving that the damage was caused by a 'sudden and accidental' occurrence. Rot would fall under the same exclusion (standard in Homeowners policies) that mold would fall under. Was the claim reported within a reasonable time frame of the actual occurrence?

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    AwkAwk Registered User regular
    The claim was filed immediately after the damage was noticed. They did write that we have one year for legal actions regarding the issue.

    The GIO link is very helpful, thank you.

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    Dr. FrenchensteinDr. Frenchenstein Registered User regular
    There was a consumerist article about an insurance company refusing to honor an all-risk policy. the burden of proof was on them, and the guy called them out citing several examples. they paid the claim.

    Do your parents know a contractor or anyone that might be able to refute the insurance company's claim? i'm assuming they are refusing payment with the hope that you don't know any better, and will just bend over and take it. A professional opinion might go further than a letter simply saying "nuh-uh!"

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    ThanatosThanatos Registered User regular
    You really need to lawyer up.

    If you were in the U.S., I could maybe give you some advice in addition to that, but I have no idea what the laws are like in Canada. In any case, your policy has a one-year suit limitation clause, so you want to get a lawyer on that ASAP. Also, in the U.S., an insurance company will get in deep shit for denying a claim without properly investigating it. If they never sent any sort of engineer or contractor to inspect the premises--assuming the laws are similar--they're going to be paying legal fees in addition to covering the repairs.

    However, the only way you're going to figure that out is by hiring a lawyer. Which you should do. Now.

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    The Crowing OneThe Crowing One Registered User regular
    Lawyer, for one.

    Second, after speaking to a lawyer, you'll probably need to obtain an independent inspection (home inspector?) to back up the "no rot" claim.

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