How do subsequent insurance claims work in conjunction with previous claims? Isaacy Details inside.
posted by anonymous to home & garden (5 answers total)
TLDR; had a what we thought was a roof leak, got a new roof, leak wasn't roof but we fixed the leak on one side. Now it's leaking on the other - if we report it to the insurance company are we going to have to pay back the $xx,xxx.xx to the insurance company?
1. Florida, Single Family Home, not in any special flood zone or special high rate hurricane (coastal) zone - built in the last decade
2. I am the homeowner (with the bank, whoever that is this month) and current in all ways
3. We've had a lot of hurricanes in the past decade, one that gave us superficial roof damage
4. We had Isaac this week but didn't get flooded out (though I have been putting off getting flood insurance and I will get it asap)
So, back during one of those years in the last decade when we had all those hurricanes, I lost some roof tile from my house from Hurricane [redacted]. Some guy came by, glued them back on (I know better now), paid cash. Looked to be superficial damage at the front of the house. No interior damage.
After the fix, things seemed hunky dory.
The next year, we had a bad rainy night and the ceiling started leaking in a totally different part of the house than the superficially replaced roof tiles. Argh. Put in a claim to insurance, they paid out a few thousand dollars to patch the roof where it seemed the water may have been coming in according to licensed roofers the insurance company paid. I believe the claim was paid as a part of Hurricane [redacted] from a year earlier.
A couple years later, it leaked more/again. I talked with a roofer (used by others of my acquaintance) who had his own lawyer who represented us to the insurance company to reopen the claim as "Hurricane [redacted]" damage / need a whole new roof (also, building codes changed in the interim, so our tiles would now be glued instead of nailed). They represented us on contingency type basis.
Our claim was reopened, adjudicated, and the insurance company paid for a new roof and interior repairs (I think - but we haven't got around to it). The roof was completely stripped and replaced (with newer technology), one bad plywood board was removed and replaced (not near the leak).
Paperwork was sent, inspections passed, checks were cleared, life went on.
Very shortly there after, it rained, and the ceiling leaked again. Through various types of trial and error, it was determined that the leak was from a crack in the wall that we sealed up. I spoke to other cookie cutter house owners in the neighborhood and the majority of them with our design have the exact same leaks in the exact same place. We all grumbled about design flaw and suing the builder but it never happened. Most everyone has moved away.
Now, a few years later, here blows in Isaac. We have a leak on the other side (symmetrically built house) and it's coming in from the ceiling.
Fixing it is a matter of getting someone nimble up on a ladder and squirting some sealant in a particular place on an exterior wall. The damage to the ceiling is not bad; a bit of spackle and Killz paint and it will look fine. Until we get a hair up our butt and fix up the interior properly with replacement sheet rock and a plasterer.
But? If we file a claim instead? Is the insurance company going to say "Hey, I remember you, we gave you a roof for a leak on the other symmetrical side of your house, no where near the bum plywood boards. So maybe it wasn't the roof? How about our $xx,xxx.xx back, then? Minus $xxx.xx it will take to get a guy in to fix the ceiling."
We have fans to dry out the ceiling (not pro grade but it's not that wet and dry to the touch a few hours later), no more rain expected any time soon.
If they make me pay it back, will they take payments? The cost is seriously my entire year's take home pay (not the only one bringing in money but we're crawling back from a multi year unemployment stint).
I'm not trying to intentionally defraud them, or unintentionally, but I'm very ambivalent about filing a claim or not. Advice?
Boils down to:
1. Claim - I know where the leak is, please pay money to a contractor to fix it. Here's a video of the leak during Isaac, see the light water marks up there.
2. Claim - there's a leak, here's the video we took during Isaac, see the light water marks up there. (Feels icky)
3. Fix it and forget it, save up to fix the interior properly (when we get the other side fixed, too).
The interior fix area is about nine square feet on each spot (leak is along a seam in an area with small pieces of sheetrock all interlocked together).
The exterior fix area is at a place where one direction of cinderlblock meets another. Some sealant has taken care of the one side (either we didn't do it or didn't do it as well on the other) and I expect to do the same on the other side.
Have some interior building experience but nothing in cinderblock constructed houses. I don't expect to move in the next decade or so (market is teddible even if we aren't underwater).