Read your homeowner's policy carefully. You might find that your property is not as protected or as covered as you think. Early Sunday morning Sept. 14th, we had winds in excess of 60 mph and torrential rain. 2 giant oak trees fell in our back yard, taking out our well house and pump, fence, part of our deck and patio, as well as our lawn furniture. As soon as it was light enough, I took my digital camera outside and took 25 pictures of the damages. Much to my relief the trees had missed the house by inches, but it is going to be a massive clean-up operation requiring a truck to remove the trees and the well pump and housing has to be completely replaced. Not a problem I thought, I'll call my agent 1st thing Monday morning, send her the digital pictures and start the claim process. This is why we have homeowner's insurance and have paid $500 a year with a $1250.00 deductible. Right? WRONG!!!
After talking to our agent at Cannon Insurance of Mountain Grove, MO. Monday morning, we could not do anything but wait for the claims adjuster, so we waited and waited and waited...
At noon I called back to see if there was any word yet but our agent was at lunch so I left a message. At 1:15 pm a representative from Farmer's Mutual Insurance of Dade County, MO. called to inform us that they would not pay our claim. Excuse me??? Why??? Well, because when we bought the homeowner's insurance, it was just that; the home. Nothing else. I argued that the deck and patio are attached to our house and I didn't consider the well house as a separate out building as it was connected to our house via the water and electrical lines and was necessary in order to live here, assuming we wanted running water.
The average person walks into an insurance office and purchases a homeowner's policy. Apparently, one has to be more specific and state that you want not only the home insured but the very ground it sits on. To wit: According to the MO. Insurance Commission, one must ask for home, property, debris removal, fence, outside buildings, to include a well house, deck, patio and lawn furniture et all. The lady I talked to at the Commission told me that while it is not illegal for an insurance company a GOOD agent will take the time to explain the policy and exactly what is and what is not covered so one can add coverage accordingly. She agreed with me that this practice CAN be deceptive and/or confusing to the average homeowner.
Needless to say I am looking for a new insurance company but THIS time, I will tell the agent that if someone even passes gas on my property, I want to be covered.
As an update, the insurance company agent called back this morning and said she was having a claims adjuster come out and "take a look" in the next few days. Oops! Too late! We have already started removing some of the debris ourselves with the help of a friend and his chainsaw. This was necessary since we could not get off the deck steps and into the yard because of a 50' tree laying across the railing. We have also decided to get rid of the well completely and hook up to the local rural water district. As bad as I hate to, we will also get 2 other 100 year old oak trees cut down that tower over our house because if those ever fell the insurance company WOULD be paying us for a new house. I do not want to go thru this nightmare again.
If this applies to you I hope you will take a few minutes of your day to dig your policy out of your file cabinet and READ it!!! If there is something you do not understand, call your agent.