Sewage Backup. Insurance Questionable.
June 16, 2014 6:04 AM Subscribe
We had a sewage backup - we live in a townhouse, on a slab. (Two neighbors got hit, too.) My homeowners insurance covers rain, flooding, and roof problems, but not sewage. However, the cause of the backup was not our toilets - a branch dislodged on our shared roof and sent down a swimming pool full of water, which overwhelmed the sewer. Insurance is... confusing, demoralizing.
When I called my insurance, they were very clear that my coverage does not include sewer-related issues. And, technically, this is one. However, the sewer is not the underlying cause. There was a branch on our roof that was blocking drainage, and someone went up there to move it so our roof did not leak. It's clear now that the massive volume of water collecting up there would have definitely caused a roof leak, and we're glad that guy is okay, but the end result is that our entire first floor is now stripped down to the concrete on the ground and lathe on the walls. It was pretty bad.
We are going to be able to get the structural stuff (flooring, drywall, paint) and the actual cleaning/disinfecting (ServPro)* covered by the HOA's insurance, but it does not cover the other stuff - rugs and items we could not clean with bleach and have to throw away, loss of use (we are staying with a very good friend), lost income from taking days off to clean, food that spoiled in our fridge, things we had to acquire to live elsewhere on short notice, transportation.
My insurance agent was very firm about us not being covered for sewer issues. He said we were welcome to attempt to make a claim for the loss of use, but it would probably be less than $500 over our deductible and would cause our rate to go up a lot, plus it's not even guaranteed to be approved, and if it's not, our rate would still go up.
So other than our insurance agent showing an extreme lack of compassion - yes, we'll be shopping around once this debacle is over - we're not really sure what to do now. Make a claim? Don't bother making a claim? We just moved into this house, our first home, less than a month ago. To say this is demoralizing is an understatement. We unpacked our last box the night before this happened. Our emotions are absolutely clouding our judgement.
*Fortunately the HOA was very quick on the cleanup. Within 24 hours, all of the floors that touched black water plus a perimeter of three feet were removed down to the concrete slab, and all molding and drywall that touched black water plus about four inches above were removed down to the posts. They've cleaned meticulously. There is nothing in our home right now that is in any way sewage-y.