Home insurance and pipes that go ‘pop’ in the night

This is a guest post by Suzanne Clemenz, who writes for Insure.com. Suzanne designed her passive solar home and remodeled two others. She worked with architects and contractors on floor plans, electrical work, painting, windows, flooring installations, flood prevention walls and stonework, major drainage issues, an irrigation system, and landscaping.

It's alarming to be awakened by the distant, mysterious sound of running water. But on Sunday, November 6, 2011, that's what happened to me.

Two steps out of bed my toes sank into cold, soggy carpet. I quickly discovered that my laundry room, kitchen, and about one-third of the living area were an inch deep in expanding water.

The recessed hose bibs behind the clothes washer were dry. So was the hot water tank. A river ran from the laundry room to the garage door and driveway. The drainage swale that crosses my front and side yards was spilling water into my backyard's natural arroyo.

Soaked floors.

Dressing hastily, I turned off the outside whole-house water supply. Then, knowing most people wouldn't respond until Monday, I did the following:

  1. Moved lighter furniture into unaffected areas.
  2. Spent two hours with my shop vacuum slurping up water.
  3. Called my neighbor, who discovered that the metal “made in China” coupling low on the back of my washing machine had burst. Not the rubber hose, mind you!
  4. Called the State Farm Insurance claims department at 9 a.m. State Farm opened a home insurance claim, recording all the details. They okayed my calling the mold remediation contract I had used on a claim earlier in the year.
  5. Left a message for my local insurance agent.
  6. Called the licensed mold/water/fire/sewage remediation contractor I'd used months earlier for a frozen, burst in my garage.

I spent two more hours vacuuming water — 22 gallons total. My kitchen counter tops were stacked high with belongings, so at 2 p.m. I headed for a nearby cafe, keeping my receipt for insurance reimbursement since my kitchen was not usable.

The contractor called late in the afternoon with the comforting words “I'll be there in the morning.” He said to keep the house at 70 degrees and set up fans aimed at the master bedroom and closet carpet. I moved survival gear to my guest bedroom and bathroom. The only livable places were my home office and guest bedroom.

Flood Remediation

The contractor and crew arrived early Monday and moved heavy furniture to unaffected areas. Some of the equipment they used included the following:

  • The magic meter. The contractor's hand-held meter read moisture levels several inches into any surface. He took readings from floors, baseboards, and walls.
  • The hot octopus. The crew popped off baseboards and drilled a line of holes every 8 inches in soaked drywall areas. The contractor set up his Injectidry machine to help dry the drywall. A flexible mustard yellow tube snaked from the machine into affected rooms. About 63 smaller tubes connected it to the drilled wall holes. Heated air began blowing into the walls and under the kitchen cupboards. This is the first line of defense against mold formation.
  • The blowhards. A powerful floor fan (without heat) forcefully blew air underneath the bedroom carpet until it billowed across the bedroom and into the walk-in closet. Six similar fans were set up elsewhere, as needed.
  • The tear-jerker, A blue R2-D2-sized dehumidifier was set up at a central location.

All the machinery howled like a pack of wolves 24/7 for the next five days, after which only one small area needed more drying.

Injectidry machine dries the drywall.

In my dry Arizona climate it takes five to eight days for mold to form if not immediately mitigated. In humid climates there's only a day or two. But the seams of the laminate flooring were buckling. There was concern that mold could form under the floating vinyl floor in the kitchen and laundry room. The adjuster said, “New floors. No question.” Eight days after the flood I had a check from State Farm Insurance covering the contractor's remediation services.

Lengthy Restoration

Floor floods have a penchant for starting on or near holidays. My hopes for a restored home by Christmas disappeared. My sofa and TV had been extricated from the living room's furniture stash, so I had a place to relax. But for 10 weeks my clothing was in three rooms and bathing rituals were divided between two bathrooms. The disruption was tiring.

Fortunately, the , quiet, hard-working perfectionists. I found a 38-year-old company that did all the repair work except the flooring. Someone from the crew unfailingly calls if they are running a bit late. They were never no-shows. The contractor sent the insurance adjuster a restoration estimate once remediation was finished.

Installing new baseboards.

Old baseboards couldn't be matched and installing new ones was surprisingly work intensive. Drywall was patched, sanded, textured and painted. Baseboards were measured, cut, fitted, and tacked on until the flooring was finished. Then came the final fitting, touch-up painting, and caulking. I had a check in hand from State Farm when the preliminary baseboard work was done. Ditto for the flooring. I upgraded the flooring a bit for a glue-down vinyl plank flooring to minimize any future damage caused by my apparent bad water karma. State Farm's check for the final work arrived about 10 days after job completion.

Ounce of Prevention

I had the best contractors, crew, and insurance company imaginable, yet couldn't avoid a state of upheaval for 10 weeks. State Farm may cancel my policy or raise my rates at policy renewal time because I had two claims in one year. If so, my agent says I'll have time to shop around for other coverage. The prior frozen pipe damage created $7,000 worth of damage. This claim was closer to $20,000. State Farm has been excellent. I'd rather stay with it. (Here's more on how home insurance pays for water damage, from Insure.com.)

Braided, steel washing machine hoses with brass fittings.

The contractor's first restoration purchase was braided, steel washing machine hoses with brass fittings, made in the U.S. and with a 20-year warranty. My cost was much disruption plus about $2,000 out of pocket for my deductible and flooring upgrades.

You don't want this experience. Good news: $70 of good machine hoses can keep you high and dry.

Have you had to deal with a an insurance claim for a major home repair? Did you stick with the insurance company at renewal time?

More about...Insurance, Home & Garden

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John French
John French
8 years ago

I highly recommend the “burst-free” hoses of braided steel, though it sounds in this case like the fault was in the washer connection itself and not in the hose. I’ve also attached emergency shut-offs for the hot and cold taps, wired to a floor sensor that immediately shuts off all water when it senses moisture. It works very well and also costs about $70. I’m no home repair genius but I installed the gadget myself. My laundry is on the second floor of my home, so a flood would be extra disastrous!

Esme
Esme
8 years ago

This is why the excellent Mike Holmes (Holmes on Homes) always suggests that if at all possible, keep the laundry room in the basement, if you have one. Water damage is a royal pain in the backside.

My University Money
My University Money
8 years ago
Reply to  Esme

Love Mike Holmes! I immediately went and checked to make sure my houses were braided, thanks for the tip. My laundry room is downstairs in an unfinished room with a drain… I’m glad someone had the foresight that I wouldn’t have thought of had I built the house! Great reputation for boost for State Farm (other than the whole kicking you out think).

Marianne
Marianne
8 years ago
Reply to  Esme

Mike Holmes is so smart! 🙂 Here I’ve been annoyed that I’m stuck doing laundry in the basement! Way to make me count my blessings Mr. Holmes.

Esme
Esme
8 years ago
Reply to  Marianne

Yes, I used to think it was a pain to go downstairs to do laundry as well, but no longer. I figure if I really must, I’ll install a laundry chute so I don’t have to haul the clothes both ways. And if I can’t lug them upstairs, well, my kid is young and strong :)!

Andrew
Andrew
8 years ago
Reply to  Esme

When my kitchen needed rewiring (shortly after I moved in) the voice of Mike Holmes saying “That wasn’t in the report!” kept echoing through my head.

AC
AC
8 years ago
Reply to  Esme

when I first bought my home a negative selling point was the fact that the washing machine and dryer were located in the garage. After reading this it appears that having them outside is actually more ideal. I’ll check my hoses today and make sure I have the right pipes. thanks GRS!

Kraig @ Young, Cheap Living
Kraig @ Young, Cheap Living
8 years ago

This is a scary story. I’m currently looking after my mom’s house 3 hours away as she’s away right now. It’s a continual worry that something may happen to the furnace, causing flooding of the house. I did call the insurance company, which is State Farm as well, and verified that everything is covered in the event of a furnace failure. It is a very good feeling knowing that there is insurance in place and that if something like this happened, it wouldn’t be financially devastating. Thanks for sharing.

PFM
PFM
8 years ago

Darn it! I just put in new rubber washer hoses, now I have to go out a buy the braided ones! Stinks that if you have legitimate claims the insurance company will drop you, one of the reasons why I have no loyalty to them, they don’t to you.

Bill
Bill
8 years ago
Reply to  PFM

My new Samsung HE Washer and dryer came with the rubber hoses. They were very difficult to connect. The steel ones are better and they were easier to use.

Kevin
Kevin
8 years ago

“The metal “made in China” coupling low on the back of my washing machine had burst.” “The contractor’s first restoration purchase was braided, steel washing machine hoses with brass fittings, made in the U.S. and with a 20-year warranty.” This was an interesting story, but I have to say, I was a little put-off by the veiled xenophobia in the above two comments. You seem to be implying that, as a rule, “Made in China” products are inferior to “Made in the USA” items, and you should have known better and just purchased the superior, North American items in the… Read more »

El Nerdo
El Nerdo
8 years ago
Reply to  Kevin

Part of the problem is that Chinese products have a reputation for being shoddy. Don’t think of China as a “race” (whatever that word means), which invites notions of racism; think of China as a brand in the global market. It’s a brand with a reputation. e.g.: http://www.chinesedrywall.com/ http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2007_pet_food_recalls http://www.nytimes.com/2007/08/02/business/02toy.html Made in China today has associations of sweatshop labor, corrupted business practices, environmental disaster, tainted goods, and even explosions at the Foxconn factory where the iPad is made. (I buy Chinese products like everyone else, but I won’t buy food made in China– my health insurance isn’t that great). Apple… Read more »

Mom of five
Mom of five
8 years ago
Reply to  El Nerdo

The veggies we eat in our house are primarily of the frozen variety. I’ve gotten very careful about checking the country of origin. I will not buy vegetables grown in China and that includes the frozen organic broccoli sold at BJ’s.

Kevin
Kevin
8 years ago
Reply to  Mom of five

But you’d happily buy spinach grown in California?

El Nerdo
El Nerdo
8 years ago
Reply to  Mom of five

I see your Californian E. coli and raise you Guangxi cadmium.

Whitney
Whitney
8 years ago
Reply to  Kevin

Xenophobia is a strong accusation. At the very MOST, she’s implying that a product’s origin is something to be considered when making an important purchase. Obviously, she’s regretting her purchase because it cost a LOT of money in the long term.

I think that’s a fair assertion whereas yours is not.

sarah
sarah
8 years ago
Reply to  Whitney

it immediately struck me as xenophobic.

Elizabeth
Elizabeth
8 years ago
Reply to  Whitney

I would look at a product’s quality, not necessarily its origin. Whether positive or negative, bias is bias.

Besides “Made in” labels are up for interpretation. I’m not sure how it works in the U.S., but something “Made in Canada” can have up to 49 per cent of its parts or components coming from other countries. Part of the labour can happen elsewhere too, but the “last substantive transformation” (or something like that) has to happen in Canada.

If we consider “Made in” as a brand as El Nerdo suggests, then look at the quality and not the politics.

phoenix1920
phoenix1920
8 years ago
Reply to  Elizabeth

I have no clue how to judge the quality of a coupling or the quality of baby formula without considering where it is manufactured and the overall reputation of the manufacturer. One of the reasons I prefer some products more is that they are from a country where the COUNTRY sets higher regulations or does NOT permit certain pesticides or chemicals when growing agriculture. To me there is nothing xenophobic about recognizing that different counties have different laws.

Elizabeth
Elizabeth
8 years ago
Reply to  Elizabeth

True! But goods made in China are not universally bad, just like the U.S. doesn’t have the highest standards in the world for everything. Sometimes there’s a good reason why certain items from certain countries have a bad reputation.

I have no idea how to tell if a coupling is made in China or not. I’m kind of curious how the poster knew? (I’m not being sarcastic — I’ve never looked closely at a coupling!)

El Nerdo
El Nerdo
8 years ago
Reply to  Kevin

@ Kevin: I’m consumer. I buy stuff at Walmart. I make my own cleaning products so I bought some spray bottles– at Walmart of course, it’s cheaper. So we have these 2 bottles for a long time, they are great and cheap. One of the bottles eventually croaks (I think it fell and broke). We go buy a replacement at Walmart, and the replacement is useless– it drips all over, it doesn’t close well, it doesn’t build pressure and doesn’t pump correctly. Useless. I look at the label of the replacement and it says Made in China. I look at… Read more »

Stella
Stella
8 years ago
Reply to  El Nerdo

I buy my spray bottles at the 99 cent store and have never had any problems with them. I also make my own cleaning products.

Suzanne Clemenz
Suzanne Clemenz
8 years ago
Reply to  Kevin

Hi–I’m the author of the article. The washer and dryer came with the house and I didn’t know one type of washing machine connector from another. The machine had never dripped, so I was unaware of potential problems. It was my contractor, who is a mold, water and fire damage specialist, who strongly recommended U.S. products due to his experience with the rubber-hosed foreign products he’s dealt with for 38 years. It was expert advice that I am glad to pass on to others. If there are Chinese hoses with the same warranty and same construction, I’d still prefer to… Read more »

El Nerdo
El Nerdo
8 years ago

Oh, sorry about your troubles but THIS WAS FUN TO READ! Learning about all the repair work was engrossing. I wish you had videos! This has made me think that if I ever build a house it’s going to be 100% tile floors or something like that (easy to mop too).

Question: did you have to float payment to the contractor, or did the contractor get paid directly from the insurance company?

cc
cc
8 years ago
Reply to  El Nerdo

engrossing and also cemented my plan to rent for the rest of my life.

pardon my dorkiness, but just put a SEP field over the whole mess.

Suzanne Clemenz
Suzanne Clemenz
8 years ago
Reply to  El Nerdo

My previous floors were both the “floating” type. The wood laminate had an easy, tongue-and-groove installation system, the vinyl kitchen/laundry flooring planks had adhesive tabs on one edge that stuck to the adjoining piece. Water got under both systems. My new floors are glue-downs. Yes, I’ve gotten a bit paranoid after two floods in one year. State Farm hasn’t cancelled my policy. My agent simply warned me that it is a possiblity due to two claims in one year. I won’t know until the renewal date. But I had checks from State Farm in time so that I didn’t have… Read more »

Chris
Chris
8 years ago

I would have to agree with Kevins comment. I liked your story, but as soon as I read your “Made in China” comment, you lost me. While “Made in America” products are great in supporting the US economy, they are not always the best products. Perfect example are the “floodsafe” wash machine hoses that your story shows in the photo. Be careful with these. Although they work to prevent a sudden burst or extreme pressure loss in the hose, if there is ever a small leak, they don’t do anything to stop the water.

Mom of five
Mom of five
8 years ago

When we did our addition we put our laundry room on the top floor right next to our bedrooms. We love it up there but we were worried about an incident like the one described here. So we installed a water detecting alarm on the floor next to our washer which will automatically shut off the water supply. Twice it’s done its job perfectly and saved us lots of cleanup and expense. It looks something like this one.http://www.homesecuritystore.com/p-483-fs-34h-90-floodstop-system-for-washing-machines.aspx A cheaper version of the alarm that simply detects water and lets out an ear piercing beep is also available – we’ve… Read more »

Whitney
Whitney
8 years ago

This is such a familiar story. Four weeks after we bought our new hours, the water heater burst (quite literally) and flooded two floors. We woke up on a Sunday morning to a waterfall from our downstairs ceiling. It took MONTHS to get everything fixed and it was the middle of winter so it was cold while they took out ceiling panels, etc. Just a short time later, a water filter in the kitchen burst because of a careless worker (though we couldn’t prove it) and we had a smaller kitchen flood. The two together was too much for State… Read more »

bareheadedwoman
bareheadedwoman
8 years ago
Reply to  Whitney

has anyone ever done a cost analysis as in:

I paid state farm $200/mo for 10 years and in the 10th year I put in two claims equaling $19k in costs and they dropped me the next renewal…?

I’m a lifelong renter so I don’t know myself but I’m curious as to how widespread it is: I’ve had a lot of homeowner friends who are astounded to be dropped when they never claimed anywhere near as much as they put in. I’ve had family have their home dropped as soon as they paid it off, without ever having claimed anything.

Pol Eothach
Pol Eothach
6 years ago

A couple of things, most insurance companies won’t cancel a policy after one claim unless there’s fraud. They may not be able to prove it but once you’ve been doing this for a while it’s very obvious when people are trying to defraud. They won’t tell you but they’ll know. Two claims in one year, most every company will cancel. Your home is not being maintained and is in chronic disrepair and/or you know how the system works and will be looking to file another claim in the near future if possible. I was at an ins co presentation a… Read more »

John | Married (with Debt)
John | Married (with Debt)
8 years ago

I have a water sensor/alarm under my washing machine. These are about 10-20 bucks, but worth it. Unless you aren’t at home.

My washer repair guy told me they make water alarms that connect thru wi-fi to the internet so you can get an alarm even if you aren’t home.

Calling this article racist? Methinks the author of that comment needs to wake up a bit later in the morning – they aren’t getting enough sleep.

SmartMoneyHelp
SmartMoneyHelp
8 years ago

This is a good article that I’m sure will inspire people to check their pipes and do preventative maintenance.

The red cross can be a good source of information for preventative work. They have a good check list for preventing and thawing frozen pipes: http://www.redcross.org/portal/site/en/menuitem.d229a5f06620c6052b1ecfbf43181aa0/?vgnextoid=78313acde6b4e110VgnVCM10000089f0870aRCRD

If you curious how much a flood in your home will run you, FloodSmart.gov has an interactive tool. You can run a cost estimate here: http://www.floodsmart.gov/floodsmart/pages/flooding_flood_risks/the_cost_of_flooding.jsp

Money Beagle
Money Beagle
8 years ago

I’ve written on my site about how purchasing a set of six water froggies, strategically placed around my house where water would tend to leaks, have saved me three times over the past few months. Our leaks were never the type that would have been immediately catastrophic, but in addition to making sure you have good hoses, it’s key to have water sensor devices. Obviously they are only going to work if you’re home, but I’m pretty sure they even have some now that can communicate with you via e-mail or phone.

Michael
Michael
8 years ago

When we finished our basement we did some preventative things for if/when a flood occurs. We’ve got drain-tile around the perimeter of the basement that connects to an in-ground sump pump which pumps to a dry well away from the house. I test it once a year or so. We used steel studs, paper-less insulation and mold-resistant drywall. We also used carpet tiles so we can replace just a section of carpet instead of the whole thing. The most likely thing to sustain damage if our basement floods now are the baseboards and doors frames. It’d still be a hassle,… Read more »

Jen
Jen
8 years ago

Great timing on this post! We’re looking to buy a house soon and are just wrapping our heads around home insurance policies (we’re first time home buyers). This helped me to realize just how closely I should read any insurance policy – the house has already had water issues due to minor flooding (from a river, which is obviously flood insurance not home owner’s insurance, but the same idea applies).

Jenny
Jenny
8 years ago

When I bought my washer/dryer set used after I moved into my townhome, the previous owners didn’t provide the hoses, so I went to Lowe’s and bought the steel-threaded version without thinking too much about it. Then I later read a recommendation to ALWAYS replace rubber washing maching hoses with the steel-threaded. I’m fairly certain mine did not cost $70, but they’ve held up extremely well over the past 4 years, longer than the initial washing machine they were meant for. I have never heard of the water sensors that commenters have mentioned; I will definitely look into that! After… Read more »

bareheadedwoman
bareheadedwoman
8 years ago
Reply to  Jenny

are the point-of-use water heaters subject to the same flooding potential as a burst tank?

(am assuming there’s running water/loose links potential if not stored water, but not a plumber)

Andrew
Andrew
8 years ago

No plumbing disasters to report, but years ago my parents’ oil furnace backfired, which instantaneously coated absolutely everything in the house with a thick layer of soot.

Cleaning it up took an army of hired companies several weeks, but the insurance company (Liberty Mutual, I think) paid for everything. They even paid for the dog to be professionally washed and groomed.

A good insurance policy is a wonderful thing.

Laura
Laura
8 years ago

Something to consider if you do have a catastrophic loss – an independent adjuster. This is someone who works for YOU, not the insurance company, to get you the best settlement from the insurance company. They generally get paid a portion of the proceeds. We used one when we had a small house fire, and I was amazed at the items they included in our claim, that I would never have thought were covered. Worth every penny we paid him.

Peter Brülls
Peter Brülls
8 years ago

Another tipp: Just close the faucet when you’re not using the washing machine. 🙂

Carrie
Carrie
8 years ago

The easiest way to prevent a flood from the washing machine is to turn off the water supply when the machine is not in use. It’s a simple habit to get into and it’s free!

Carol in Mpls
Carol in Mpls
8 years ago
Reply to  Carrie

Good point! When my mother taught me how to do laundry, turning the water on/off was part of the process. To my knowledge they never had any issues with the pipes, and this was in Iowa, where it does get very cold in winter.

Sue
Sue
8 years ago
Reply to  Carrie

I was taught to ALWAYS turn off the taps to my laundry when I’m not doing laundry for this very reason. We’re away a fair bit, so it gives me some piece of mind. We also turn off the water main connection to the house when we’re away even overnight, for the same reason.

Patrick
Patrick
8 years ago

Worth its weight in gold!

http://www.watercop.com/

@ Carrie: Typically the valves (small ball valves) installed at the washing machine are not meant to be used as on/off mechanisms. You could have heavier duty ones installed if so desired.

Minerva
Minerva
8 years ago

Seems like you had a tough break. I’m sorry this happened to you. In the past we have had trouble with our washer. It wasn’t properly emptying the water. Several times we found water all over the floor and we weren’t sure where the leak was coming from. Thankfully, $500 later, the plumbers were able to find the problem and fix it. Believe me, it was not fun.

I hope everything works out for you!

Young Professional Finances
Young Professional Finances
8 years ago

That’s a scary thing to wake up to. I’m glad that State Farm was able to cover most of the finances that came up with this! I’m happy I have them. And now I can understand why the washer/dryer is usually in the basement or the garage…which makes me sad because I always wanted them in my bedroom. Guess I don’t want that anymore.

Peter
Peter
8 years ago

Even better than braided hoses is to have a plumber install a shutoff valve for just the washer. Keeping the valves shut when you’re not doing laundry stops the hoses from being under pressure 24/7, which is what eventually causes them to burst. For a rough idea of how much water a burst hose/pipe can release, a few years ago we forgot to shut off the valve to our outdoor hose which left it under pressure overnight. At some point during the night it burst and we woke up to the sound of water shooting all over the yard. I… Read more »

mike
mike
8 years ago
Reply to  Peter

We shut ours off after ever load.

bethh
bethh
8 years ago

This article was so well written – it doesn’t apply to me in the slightest but was still a fun (horrifying!) read. Makes me happy to be a renter, but should I ever own, I’ll be sure to get some water detectors right away!

Brenton
Brenton
8 years ago
Reply to  bethh

When I was renting at my last apt building, the unit above me had some kind of mishap in the bathroom and flooded the entire apartment while the occupant was away for a weekend. The water dripped down from above and flooded part of my apt. It didnt cause me any real damage, but it was a gigantic hassle to get everything clean and back to normal. So, its almost worse to be renting because you have less control over the maintenance. As for my current home, I had roots get into the pipes and cause a backup flooding both… Read more »

KM
KM
8 years ago

What an awful story!

I was curious because article introduction mentions that you essentially designed your own house. Do you think that both your floods were the really the result of design flaws or inexperience? Frozen pipes in garage are caused by inadequate insulation on pipes in that area, and you say that you had an inadequate quality fitting on your washer. I love to do things myself also, but perhaps there is a cost?

Suzanne Clemenz
Suzanne Clemenz
8 years ago
Reply to  KM

I no longer live in the home I designed, but I’ve lived in this high-desert area (4,500′ elevation) for 35 years and the temperature had never been below 18 degrees. On New Year’s day, 2011, it dropped to 0 degrees. Many garage ceilings in the central Arizona highlands are not insulated. There were over 250 claims from burst pipes that day–which may have been State Farm claims alone–I’m not sure.The pipe itself was insulated. The new pipe is of a material that can swell without bursting. In the home I designed, due to a friend’s experience with flooded floors, I… Read more »

I Am 1 Percent
I Am 1 Percent
8 years ago

Scary stuff. I experienced this twice. Once in my home, and the other time in a rental. Both were due to a frozen pipe. Insurance covered them both, but they raised the rates afterwards. I have since switched insurance companies. Sorry to hear about your ordeal!

AverageJoe
AverageJoe
8 years ago

My stomach flopped when I started the post…what a horrible problem! Thanks for the blow-by-blow description of all that happened. It’s helpful to read about an experience like this ahead of time so we can learn from your trials….

Joanna
Joanna
8 years ago

Am I the only one who thinks it is absolutely absurd that an insurance company can cancel your policy for utilizing it? We have to pay them monthly premiums, and then a deductible, so that we can rely on coverage in the event of a problem, and also worry that if we have a problem we’ll lose coverage.

I understand why they want to be able to do this – ideally they’d love to just rake in the premiums and never pay out a dime. I just don’t understand why this is legal.

Whitney
Whitney
8 years ago
Reply to  Joanna

I’m not sure why it’s legal. It’s extremely frustrating, to say the least. You don’t get kicked off of health insurance for getting diagnosed with something bad (if so, I’d be uninsured!). It might have something to do with state laws as those vary quite a bit in that area.

Brenton
Brenton
8 years ago
Reply to  Joanna

Why would it be illegal? You pay the premiums, they shell out the cash. Suddenly you are asking for cash several times in a year, and the company decides to end the policy. No contract is broken, they just dont renew the policy. Just like you can choose to not renew the policy yourself.

I see no explanation of why a company should be forced to do business with anyone and vice-versa.

Peter
Peter
8 years ago
Reply to  Brenton

@Brenton – “I see no explanation of why a company should be forced to do business with anyone and vice-versa.” Because in most states, insurance is a regulated industry and homeowners insurance specifically, is something you are required to have. The whole point of insurance is to pool everyone’s risk and the state allows the insurance companies to set rates where they can make a profit. If the insurance companies were allowed to only cover customers that were very low risk, the costs for higher risk people would be outrageously high. If you’re not going to pool the risk, so… Read more »

Diana L
Diana L
8 years ago
Reply to  Peter

To be fair, insurance is only required if you don’t own the home outright. When a bank lends you the money they require insurance to protect their investment.

PawPrint
PawPrint
8 years ago

So sorry you had to go through that horrible experience. We had water damage from a dishwasher hose that started squirting water all over when we were at the gym for two hours. Came home to a kitchen full of water and hardwood floors buckling. We’d just switched insurance companies a few months before the water issue. They didn’t cancel us thankfully.

Jenna, Adaptu Community Manager
Jenna, Adaptu Community Manager
8 years ago

Sorry to hear about your water damage home experience. I’m glad that everything worked out!

Joe
Joe
8 years ago

No doubt that cheap fixtures are to blame. But if you’ve had two burst pipes (even if these bursts were at joints), it might be time to consider keeping your house a bit warmer and heavily insulating any external pipes (preferably turning them off or, in the summer routing these more directly into the ground beneath the house).

Sharon
Sharon
8 years ago

Or you could just turn off the water to the washer when you aren’t using it.

Z
Z
8 years ago

In the article you mention “$70 of good machine hoses” but the link goes to a Home Repair article, and I search for “hose” and none is found. I just search Amazon, Home Depot and Lowes, I don’t see anything that expensive. What did the contractor get you, and secondly where can I get a set? From the picture you posted I can see the FloodSafe Logo from the manufacturer Watts (I know them more for outdoor backflow preventors, and pressure reducers), unfortunately the photo has been saved down in resolution, I can’t see much more. Watts only lists one… Read more »

Suzanne Clemenz
Suzanne Clemenz
8 years ago
Reply to  Z

Z–Thanks for writing. I should have clarified that there were two hoses, one for hot and one for cold water connectors. They were purchased at Ace Hardware.

Claire
Claire
8 years ago

Suzanne – I’m sorry to hear you went through this – a timely post as we are just going through it ourselves. Thankfully the leak was in a rental property that my husband and I own and we did not have tenants at the time. However, BECAUSE we did not have tenants at the time, the leak was not discovered in a timely manner. The leak started in an upstairs bathroom, the coupling of the water pipe leading to the toilet “popped” off (I don’t know where it was made, don’t think it really matters! ;-)). Water could have been… Read more »

Suzanne Clemenz
Suzanne Clemenz
8 years ago
Reply to  Claire

Claire–Your horrendous story makes mine a walk in the park by comparison. But it illustrates how easily tens of thousands of dollars worth of damage, upheaval, and financial woes can result from the failure of just one connector. My contractor said that washing machine hoses are the most frequent culprit in his experience. An annual homeowner inspection of all water connectors and U or J-joints in plumbing might help. I once had a U-joint (PVC) shatter at a light tap with a wastebasket in a 20-year old house. Water happens!

Mold Removal Hawaii
Mold Removal Hawaii
8 years ago

This is one of my biggest fears after having installed laminate flooring in our apartment that the washer or water heater will burst and cause water to flow everywhere. I’ve even thought about replacing the water heater with one of those waterless ones. I have a brother in law though that has a mold restoration company here in Hawaii where mold can be extensive.

Rob
Rob
7 years ago

Insurance companies seem to spin a wheel when they decide what homes will be covered and which ones will not. Or maybe I just don’t understand insurance.

But we’ve been doing mold remediation work for 10 years and I still have to tell clients “I have no idea if the work will be covered”.

goingeast
goingeast
7 years ago

My insurance was canceled because I had one claim. The next company canceled me after 15 days because my furnace was “over 30 years old”. It’s a Lennox, I had just had it inspected and the guy replaced the things which should be replaced and said it was in tip top shape.

goingeast
goingeast
7 years ago

In addition to my previous post…in the first place, how did they find out the age of my furnace. I didn’t even know. And…why should I have to buy a new furnace just to get homeowners’ insurance, when I have this one inspected and serviced every year and the heating and plumbing expert says it’s in great shape?

Rodolfo Rodriguez
Rodolfo Rodriguez
6 years ago

Great article, Suzanne! Ugh, it was good enough that i got a terrible flashback at your description of waking up to a soggy carpet and popped pipe. Beginning of a nightmare, and one that I handled with far less aplomb than you did!
My response involved less planning, acting and reacting, calling insurance companies and neighbors, etc., and more swear words and panicked brain-freeze.

Jen
Jen
6 years ago

Unfortunately for my parents, who had a very similar situation, Have had no kitchen for two months because State Farm feels that the contractor they send is the only price low enough for them. My parents have paid State Farm for 40 years and have had maybe one small claim. Why would this company leave two older folks to “fend for themselves” without a kitchen and with a hole in their floor! Perhaps my parents were just unfortunate enough to be stuck with an adjuster who hates older folks (or people in general) but it looks like legal action is… Read more »

saythong
saythong
5 years ago

will insurance pay for water bill after pipe bust

Gmac
Gmac
4 years ago

We had water damage from the water tank outside leak into our bedroom and kitchen. Took over 5 months to repair. We called our insurance and they alone took over a month to authorize work. Not even 30 days after work was complete same thing happened. We never called a plumber to repair the problem. And the insurance never asked us to. Now we have a new claim. I feel that it should not be a new claim, we pay them a monthly fee to receive help and guidance in the event that we do need their help and we… Read more »

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