__First, the Flashback__
Some time ago, a service person from Sears came out to fix a dishwasher that was under warranty and broke the line going to it. We were unable to run the dishwasher (since it wasn’t fixed), and the water kept flowing. It flowed under our kitchen floor and damaged the floor, then it flowed through & collapsed the ceiling in the basement in several places. We thought our lines had backed up, so we hired a plumber, but he found no problem. The water, more or less, dissolved the wood under the sink and we had to cut that away to deal with the giant splintered remains of what had been the floor of the cabinet. With that, we finally figured out where the water was coming from and shut it off. We honestly hadn’t thought it was the dishwasher – since we couldn’t run it, were not trying to run it, and it was dry. But yep, it was the pipe to the back of the dishwasher; it had been snapped.
We asked Sears to come back out and supposedly a claim was filed by a Sears service person, but we never heard anything – ever again. We tried to communicate with higher level folks at Sears, but Sears was unresponsive (so we don’t buy anything from them anymore & we recommend you don’t either).
My Mom told us to call our homeowner’s insurance, State Farm. She said this was the sort of thing homeowner’s insurance was for. And they’d helped her with a similar issue. So we called. After a few discussions, State Farm told us that this wasn’t covered damage under our homeowner’s flood policy because it was a “slow leak”. So, a cracked pipe would be covered but if the extensive damage caused by a cracked pipe happened over 48 to 72 hours, that was too slow to cover…or something. I guess.
__Cut to the Present__
This morning, after several days of rain -which is rare in Colorado- we woke up to a seriously flooded basement. Our basement is finished, so the damage included furniture, sound system, carpeting…just a devastating level of damage.
So – Darth, my husband, filed a claim. I got the call-back this evening. The woman on the phone told me something like the damage wasn’t covered if “the water touched the ground first”. Maybe she said something about “groundwater damage not being covered” but I am pretty sure that rainwater, whether it touches the ground or not, is not groundwater until and unless it seeps into the ground and joins the existing groundwater – which is about 400 ft below ground surface [bgs] around here in the Arapahoe Aquifer area of the Denver Basin. We aren’t in the 100-year flood plain either, so surely this isn’t what she said, right? Surely she wasn’t trying to tell me that our policy didn’t cover rain damage in our basement if the rain simply touched the ground? That would imply what? That the only covered rain damage was damage caused by magical anti-gravity rain?
I handed off the phone to Darth since he saw the flooding first and since I was too frustrated to think straight. Darth was too angry – and too busy cleaning up – to respond rationally either. Wisely, he quickly signed off and told the woman to call back later.
Son 1 suggested we get a new insurance provider. He’s 10, but I still think he’s right. My Dad had State Farm, and I’ve had it my whole adult life. Darth’s Dad has always had State Farm & Darth’s had it his whole adult life. I always thought of it as a solid, venerable company, but right now, after these two incidents, which apparently didn’t meet some elusive criteria for our flood damage coverage (which we theoretically have) to kick in, I feel hoodwinked.
One of the more frustrating aspects of this is that the rainwater probably wouldn’t be able to get in if our in-floor heating pipes hadn’t cracked some years back. Before a truly solid, venerable, WONDERFUL company, Mack-Vick, came and capped it off and moved the forced water heating lines above ground, another plumber “chased” the cracks by jack-hammering up the floor. We had it refilled, but it’s never been quite the same. And we didn’t think to file a claim for the initial pipe-break of the forced water heating. :(
Does anyone have any advice? What company would you recommend for home owner’s insurance and why?