Water Main Break! Ahhhh!

aerosmithMarch 8, 2007

Jan. 24th my husband found thousands of gallons of water pouring out of the ground. Our sump was pumping in the crawlspace every minute. It was flowing down our driveway and into the crack between the garage floor and apron. It also got over the sidewalk and was dumping at the corner of our house. The city couldn't repair it for hours until the gas line was located etc. They did nothing to divert the water to a huge drain located at the corner of our property. The snow acted as a dam and channeled the water directly toward the front of our house. Yes, it was freezing temps. I took digital photos of the mess. We now have cracked and heaving in the concrete garage apron. We also had the brick on the corner of the house develop a crack over and inch wide. There are several other smaller cracks in another wall of brick. The adjustor hasn't been here yet to assess the damage. I am thinking a structural engineer should check below grade for foundation damage. We know there is a crack along the mortar line in the block. We have pictures from June that show no crack. We just had our crawlspace conditioned and the sump moved this summer. Good thing we did that work. The mayor showed up at my house the day of the break because I left him a message about how unhappy I was with their response. We are a small city but doesn't anyone have common sense? Anyone else ever have to deal with city insurance etc?

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Have you contacted your insurance carrier to see what they say? They can place your file in subrogation so that your carrier will negotiate with the city's insurance carrier for settlement. Also, not one to run to an attorney for every little thing, but this sounds like a pretty big deal. You might want to consult one?

    Bookmark   March 12, 2007 at 8:14AM
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Your insurance should handle the issue with the cities insurance. That being said, it might be a good idea to think about hiring an independent adjuster to make sure the insurance co pays you for everything that was damaged. I know in NY they come by and call whenever people have a fire. I think they charge a fee based upon a percentage of recovered monies.

    Bookmark   March 16, 2007 at 1:05PM
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Most likely not covered by your policy. The standard HO-3 policy has an exclusion for this but yours may differ. The HO-3 says "Accidental discharge or overflow of water or steam
a. This peril does not include loss on the residence premises caused by accidental discharge or overflow which occurs off the residence premises".

This also happened to my neighbors from water pouring out a manhole cover after heavy rains. The city came in and handled it just like the insurance company would. The city was self insured so no carrier was involved. One issue you may run into is that they may only owe you for the "Actual Cash Value" of the damages. So if you have 15 year old carpet, as an example, that was damaged they could depreciate it based upon the age and only pay a portion of the actual repair cost.

As far as Public Adjusters. They usually take a 10% fee of whatever the total settlement is. If you go that route find someone with a good reputation. Some don't always have your best interest in mind.

Hope all is going well

    Bookmark   March 17, 2007 at 3:17AM
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