In Your Corner: Insurance Loophole
By Ryan Elijah
Story Published: Sep 12, 2008 at 7:40 AM EDT
Story Updated: Sep 12, 2008 at 7:40 AM EDT
FORT WAYNE, IN (Indiana’s Newscenter) –
After powerful storms ripped through Decatur June 6th, Nando and Jennifer Villagomes returned home that night to find siding blown off their home and a good part of their roof missing. Figuring this was an obvious home insurance claim, they submitted their damage to Erie Insurance the next morning even as the Decatur Daily Democrat was documenting the damage on it’s front page.
On July 1st, the Villagomes family received this denial letter from Erie Insurance, it said their losses weren’t covered because the shingles on the roof weren’t installed properly Jennifer Villagomes- “these were strong storms, this should have been covered. The storms had winds of 85, 90 miles per hour and they did a lot of damage to Decatur”.
An engineering report, paid for by Erie, cited faulty workmanship, specifically nails that were installed too high. But the Villagomes’ say the 8-year old home has never had any roof problems, their builder offered a 5-year warranty, but said they never received any complaints about the roof.
When we contacted Erie Insurance, we were told they weren’t able to talk about the individual case due to privacy issues, but they said a “faulty construction” clause is in almost every policy. Local State Farm Insurance agent Sam Till also told us that was true, but said there needs to be clear evidence to deny a claim.
Sam Till/State Farm Agent- “I think that it would have to be pretty obvious to a home adjuster to call in bad construction or bad workmanship. We don’t see bad construction very often in policies, but wear and tear comes into play fairly often”.
Erie rejected an offer to pay for half the roof, but they did cover the siding, leaving the Villagomes’ over 8-thousand dollars in roof repairs out of their pocket. They say they feel slighted by a loophole that many homeowners might not know exists, even if they have a solid home inspection like they did Nando Villagomes- “You can have a home inspection, but the inspector can’t catch everything and they can use that clause”.
Jennifer- “It’s just really scary, I feel like they can use that clause to just not pay” After the Indiana Department of Insurance denied their appeal, Jennifer and Nando canceled their policy with Erie. They still wonder how it took 8 years and 80 mile an hour winds to expose their alleged “faulty roof” When you’ve been wronged – or have a story to tell, you now have a place to turn!
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