There's one thing about insurance, you never really know what you're going to get until you need them. Because it's something that you rarely use, it's hard to tell whether you are with a good company or not.
Recommend this product?
Nobody ever expects to need to use their insurance. I sure didn't expect to ever need to use my home owner's insurance, and I certainly didn't expect to see fire trucks outside my home on the evening of April 6th, as I was returning home from church. But unfortunately, I did.
We were using Assurant for our homeowner's insurance. After going through the whole process of putting in a claim with them, I must say, I am not impressed.
For one thing, they were closed on the Sunday evening when our fire happened. We had to wait until they opened on Monday morning to report our claim. When we did get in touch with them, it took them two days to send out someone to look at our house.
Our entire family room had burned. Nearly everything in that room was destroyed, and there was heat damage to many high places in our house, and there was smoke damage in the entire house. The firemen told us that the smoke would never completely get out of the plastic, and that all plastic baby toys and things that went into people's mouths would have to be thrown out. There was smoke damage to books, furniture, everything. There was a broken window, and the fire (and firemen) went through the ceiling in the family room and baby's room.
The adjustor gave us a sheet of paper with some blanks for putting our damage on. It had about 10 lines. He told my husband what to list first on his damage list, and what to concentrate on. He told us what the house needed to be repaired... it was a lot, including repainting, reflooring, taking down the cabinets and refinishing them, etc.
Some of the information he wanted on every single thing that was damaged was the item description, when we purchased the item, how much we paid for the item, how much it would cost to replace the item, and he also said it would help if we could provide proof on the item's replacement cost. He also said that he would give us "garage sale value" for the toys. What? Some of the toys that were damaged were purchased less than a week ago, and he wanted to give us garage sale value for them? I thought that all the information that he wanted was excessive... unless perhaps you only had 10 things damaged, which was all the space on the sheet that he gave us had.
So we started on a mad quest to list every single thing that we owned that was damaged in the fire. Of course, we had more than 10 items destroyed or damaged, so we put everything on an Excel spreadsheet. We provided hyperlinks to most of the items showing where you could buy them and for how much. We came up to around 450 items, totalling around $42,000 in replacement cost. We spent hours working on this, so everything would be right. We were told that it would take somewhere between 11 and 30 days to process our claim.
After we submitted our claim, our adjustor magically became hard to get in touch with. It was hard to find out where he was in the process of processing our items. He told us that he had to look at every item (fine) and retype them into his computer. I guess Assurant needs to upgrade their computer systems, because every modern computer that I know can handle Excel documents. Either that, or their proprietary software was written poorly so it couldn't work with Excel.
Almost every time we talked to the adjustor, he would start talking about how he was seeing about getting someone from the fire department to come out to see what the cause of the fire was. When your house burns down, the last thing you really care about talking to your adjustor about is getting a fire inspector out. It turns out, the fire was caused from a faulty power strip that our computers were plugged into. If Assurant wants to go after the power strip company and sue for damages, that's fine, but I don't really care all that much. I mostly want to know when I'm going to get my money.
They were able to get us a small ($5000) advance by Friday after the fire. That was nice. But when it came to getting us the money to repair the house, and the money for the contents of our house, that took quite a bit longer. The 11 to 30 day estimate? It took more like 45 days for them to get our checks out. I ended up with the attitude of "I'll believe that we'll get the money when I see it". I was almost ready to go hire a lawyer.
Assurant depreciated the $42,000 in damages down to $26,000. We had nearly 1,000 smoke damaged books (the adjustor saw and took pictures of them all), but because we listed them as a line item "bulk books, 1000 damaged", and didn't list every single individual title, when we purchased them, the purchase price and the replacement cost... they gave us a generous $0 for them all. We had more than 400 DVDs that were smoke and/or heat damaged, but because we did not list them all individually, with the date of purchase, purchase cost, and replacement cost, we got $0 for all of those. Tell me, can you buy 1,000 books and 400 DVDs for $0? I'm good, but not that good.
We could have probably amended our claim by listing all 1000 books and 400 DVDs, but considering how slow our adjustor was in the first place, it would have probably taken him another 3 months to process all of them if we had listed them all individually.
Assurant gave us a living allowance for 30 days after the fire. They would give us $20 a day for some place to stay. I suppose that we might have been able to afford staying at a tent in a national park for that money. Nevermind that we didn't even get any money to get work on the house started before the 30 days were up, the mortgage is still due during that time, and it would likely be at least 6 months until the house was livable again. I suppose they figure that the $600 living allowance for 30 days is enough to go live in a tent until you can go get a second job so you can afford to pay your mortgage and for a second place to stay while your house is getting worked on.
Nearly 2 months after our fire, we finally received the check to pay for our claim. The good news is, the check didn't bounce. It took quite a while to get it to us though. We called Geico to get rental insurance for where we are staying now, and they want to use Assurant as our rental insurance provider. I think not. I'll be checking epinions to find a company that works better than this one.
Read all comments (1)