Fallen Tree - Insurance Recourse?

share_ohApril 3, 2008

I'll try to keep this brief, but its a long story.

Last Sept a giant oak tree in my backyard split apart and a huge part of it fell on the corner of my house. Fortunately one of the branches fell beside the house, sticking into the ground and keeping the tree from completely falling thru the roof. It probably would've killed my daughter and her friend who were sleeping right under where the tree landed.

We had the tree lifted off the house to the tune of $6k. The insurance adjuster about had a heart attack when he saw the bill - but they paid it, minus our $1k deductible.

The adjuster, let's call him Dork, came to the house several days later (the tree fell on a Sat and of course none of them work weekends). He went up on the roof (we have a flat, rubber roof), looked at the cracks in the wall in my daughter's room, etc.

He then told my dh that we would be getting a new roof out of this. He sat in his car for almost 2 hours crunching the #'s on his computer.

He then says a new roof will be too much money and they will only pay for half of the roof to be replaced. He gives us a breakdown of everything and the total is $7,700.

So we start trying to get estimates. Most houses in this area have regular, pitched roofs with shingles on them. Not only did we need a roofer who could do a rubber roof, but we also needed one who could get a carpenter to replace the damaged wood on the roof as well as on the overhangs.

Finally in Dec we found two contractors who both said if they do half the roof, the estimates were about $18k & $20k, no where near Dork's estimate of $7,7k. Both contractors also said they could not guarantee that the roof would not eventually leak at the seam where the old and new rubber would meet - in fact both of them talked to Dork and told him they were sure it would in fact leak in a matter of time.

Dork refused to budge on giving us more money to do the entire roof, so we were forced to pay an additional $4k ourselves to go ahead and have it done. We ended up paying even more once they tore the old roof off and found rotted wood underneath, but we know we can't blame the tree for that half of the house.

Dork's original estimate to us had a line item on it for labor - for one roofer, for one hour, with a dollar amount (I forget the amount). I thought how in the world is he saying one roofer could get anything done in one hour let alone half a roof?

I really feel he was incompetent in his quoting and also in refusing to pay for a full roof replacement, solely based on the cost, when he first saw the damage and said we would get a whole new roof.

I'm trying to find out if there are perhaps state agencies that handle insurance complaints, or any suggestions on how to go back to the company (not Dork) to see if they will pay any more towards the full repair, since the experts agreed the roof needed fully replaced.

Any suggestions are appreciated!



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call your state insurance commissioner. though honestly it may be too late now that you have accepted the money, done the repairs, AND let a significant period of time pass. but then again you may get some good out of it so at least try.

    Bookmark   April 3, 2008 at 5:34PM
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Dork also came to our house when we had a tree fall through the roof! Luckily no one was hurt. After doing everything the insurance company asked of us ( getting a contractor, tree removal etc etc) Dork came out to see the damage. The contractor went through the repairs with Dork. The contractors estimate was $68,000 - Dork told us he thought it should cost $29,000. Called the insurance company. Told them that i was not satisfied with the adjuster they sent and to send someone who knew what they were talking about. The new adjuster came out and the contractor went through everything as he had with Dork. New adjuster said fine, go ahead. He was wonderful to work with. Now, for EVERYONE who has to deal with an adjuster, IF YOU ARE NOT SATISFIED YOU HAVE THE LEGAL RIGHT TO REQUEST ANOTHER ADJUSTER. Also, if the repairs total more than the original estimate, the insurance company should cover the difference. Sher, I hope you manage to sort this out with your insurance company. You should also tell the insurance company that if the roof leaks you will hold them responsible and expect them to pay for any damage. Also call the state insurance commissioner as Davidandkasie recommend. Good luck, and let us know how things progress

    Bookmark   April 3, 2008 at 10:13PM
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I should make things a little clearer - Dork did end up giving more money - about $18k to do half the roof and repair the tree damaged wood. I want to try to get the additional $4k that we paid to do the other half of the roof.

Thanks for your suggestions of contacting the state insurance commissioner. I will do some research into that this weekend.

I live in Ohio and we had a very cold, snowy winter from Jan thru March. The carpenters worked in bitter cold to get the wood replacement done but the roofers weren't actually able to do the final repairs until last week. The insurance checks were only cashed a few weeks ago. I believe one of the papers we got said something about having a year to dispute any claims.

Bmmalone sorry you also had to deal with a Dork! But sounds like you knew what you were doing! I had no idea we could ask for another adjuster. This is the first claim we've ever had in over 20 years of homeownership.

Live and learn I guess. Its been an expensive lesson!
Thank you both for your replies!

    Bookmark   April 4, 2008 at 3:32PM
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At the time i asked for another assess as the figures were so far apart I didn;t know that I had the legal right to do so. We had a tree fall on our carport a few years before and were out about $5000 and I was determined to not be out of pocket again (apart from the deductible ). good luck

    Bookmark   April 4, 2008 at 5:07PM
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Ah ha..I just found this thread after posting about a tree falling on our property. Share, I so much appreciate your posting your tale of tribulation...please know that it's *invaluable* information for us as we move into the getting-repairs-done phase, so your suffering won't have been in vain. It's inspiring to hear that after you objected, you were given a more realistic amount...there's no way we should end up out of pocket on this--we've never made a claim on homeowners before, been paying for years, just like you.

I'm really concerned now because supposedly we've been offered around 6K to do a complete tearoff/reroof of 2300 sf of higher-than-usual slope with "premium lifetime" asphalt. Yeah. That should happen. I'm gritting my teeth already, envisioning the "negotiations" that will have to happen. But your post and this thread will steel me to the coming meetings. Thank you, and I hope you never have to use this knowledge again.

    Bookmark   April 27, 2008 at 7:14PM
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Just an update - got my complaint filed with the state insurance commissioners office. It said most cases are resolved within 30 - 45 days. It asked how I wanted the case to be resolved and I said for them to give me more money! Best case scenario. :)

Good luck with your tree situation Flyleft. I'm glad you were able to get some help here first. I wish I had checked here before we started on this long road of frustration.


    Bookmark   May 2, 2008 at 11:18AM
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