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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hey everyone, so I posted on here the other day that a water pipe broke under our kitchen sink and flooded most of our home. It's a 84x48 modular home. Floors are a total loss in 3 rooms, and may have to be completely replaced in the front room as well. Kitchen cabinets/sink will have to be torn out and replaced as well, and possibly the divider wall behind the stove that seperates the kitchen and front room.

We have never been through this before and I don't have any idea how we should do things. I don't want the insurance co. screwing around trying to low ball us, which they seem good, but you just never know.
We're looking at thousands of $$ in repairs.

1. Is it best to get an estimate and have them give us a check for repairs and hire someone a little less expensive but just as good/licensed/insured, so the $$ goes a little further?

2. If not, then would the insurance co. allow us to pick out carpet/tile for replacement and have whomever we want to replace it? Or would we have to stick with one installer? What about cabinets?

3. I was told everything has to come out of the rooms, and of course, we are not going to be able to stay here when they start working until the floors are replaced. I think we have a $2,000 housing limit, so that means our insurance co. would pay up to that amount for a hotel room for us when the time comes?

4. My brother said not to let them close the claim on it until after a mold test is done at least 2 weeks after repairs are made. If mold levels were to be dangerous, what next? Is it best to do a mold test before they get started? Is that something I have to request, or something the contractor would automatically do after tear out?

Sorry I just am not sure what questions I should be asking. I'm so disheartened this has happened. I worry about mold and mildew, and it making us sick. The house smells really bad... 'wet.' You know that icky old musty smell...

Thanks for any advice.
 

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The mold needs to be cleaned out first. Otherwise living there will not be an option. Make sure the mold is gone. Yes request it to be taken care of.

Licensed /insured is best, no matter.

I would get a estimate,on what is needed and price for mold and damages along with hourly rate for the contractor, in writing.
Some insurance companies, have certain places and workers that are allowed to work on the home. Ask the insurance, what companies can work on your place or if you get your choice.

Get a full estimate cost on everything. Find out what is covered and what is not under your insurance co. Get more than one estimate. Take the highest estimate to your insurance.

If the insurance hasn't came out yet to look at all damages, they will, everything should be left the way it was, before tearing apart anything.

To pick out carpet ect, you will need to keep it within budget of what the insurance will pay. Work with the contractor involved and choose what you want before hand.

Some insurance co, will cut you a check, while others won't until the work is done.
They will only cover so many things, that are stated on your insurance claim. Make sure you read it over and know.

You will have to talk to your insurance and ask questions. Make a list of what you want to ask them, so you can write down notes. Such as the housing limit.

Have them go over with you, what is covered and what is not.
 

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If they are giving you a $2000 dollar housing allowance you might want to check and see if you could rent an actual house for a couple months. Most places want someone to sign a lease but if you have good references and they know your situation they might be willing to just rent you a house or apartment for a couple of months. That might make your money go farther than a motel room. Look into extended stay facilities too, like a hotel but for people who travel on business, they rent monthly. Also make sure to voice your opinion on everything, don't be afraid to ask for things and repeat yourself if needed.
 

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When we bought our house, it had surface mold in the basement and on the wall paneling of the garage that was converted into a family room. The first thing that had to be done was mold remediation. Worth every penny. We had a professional do it and didn't want to mess with it. Above advice is great.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thanks you guys I appreciate it!

Pam - she came out on Friday and seen the damage. We removed the carpet after that. The floor is trying to dry out, but there are spots that are still very very wet :( I was cleaning surface mold in the computer room yesterday. We have everything crammed into the kids rooms, or the front room.

We had another contractor out yesterday and they couldn't believe how bad it was or that the insurance company wasn't helping us more. He said we should not be staying here because the risk of mold. He agreed with me if I am seeing it on the floor, imagine what's in the walls or underneath :(

I tried to call the adjuster yesterday and she wouldn't call me back! She works out of 2 different offices. Finally got a hold of her this morning.
First contractor gave an estimate of $13,000. But insurance will only pay $8,289 <$8,789 minus $500 deductible>. That's for 'everything.'
She said they can write us a check for the $$, and we can hire whom we want to fix what parts, etc. that away if we want to do some of the work, then it would be cheaper.

Basically... the insurance co is NO HELP. They just say to do this or that, after 'I' ask the questions. Really not impressed at all with their 'help.'

I'm waiting for my husband to call me so we can discuss it. I think we'll have to settle with the check, and figure things out.
We can't do anything until we get our stuff out of the house - EVERYTHING - :(
She did say, as soon as we decide on a POD size, and price she'd need something in writing and they would cover the cost, so I am going to do that now.

I'm so dizzy I don't know what we should do! Bleh! This is so frustrating.
My husband might be able to tear out the old floors/insulation then whomever comes in could get out what he isn't able to get out.

I'm wondering if it would be cheaper for us to shop for cabinets ourselves vs. buying brand new ones through a contractor. I don't mind used cabinets as long as they are in good shape - there is a place I know that sells used sets that are usually used as displays in stores, or come out of 'fancy pancy' houses that are sold with decent price tags. Thankfully we don't need a lot of cabinets as our kitchen is small.

And carpet... we actually want to have tile or linoleum/etc. in the dinning room, and around the front door <which was all carpeted>, so I am sure that will cut expense a little. I really REALLY do not want new carpet in the dinning room, I can just see my kids making a huge mess of it. We don't use the front door because there is nothing to put shoes on, so....tile/etc. would be great.

We have to rent a POD, which insurance will cover, we just have to decide on a size, and get it written in writing for the insurance lady so she can issue us a check for the cost. I am going to do that right now, so we can start packing and getting things into it.

She also will have to make arrangements for helping us find a place to stay, she said there is a # hotline she can call that will help us find a place nearby that insurance could cover.
My concerns would be... if it's a hotel, there is nothing within 15 minutes of us, and I need to be able to have a kitchen so I can cook.

I am wondering if they would pay rent on a place as was suggested by Nubianfan? We have had insurance with this company for about 5 years, and we own our home, and have been here since Oct 2007.
 

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Thanks you guys I appreciate it!
I am wondering if they would pay rent on a place as was suggested by Nubianfan? We have had insurance with this company for about 5 years, and we own our home, and have been here since Oct 2007.
It just never hurts to ask. I don't think they care, insurance companies want to do what ever is cheapest to them. If you could find a place that was cheaper than your hotel room would be they would probably be fine with it. The problem is probably more going to be getting a landlord to agree to rent for only a couple of months. Most landlords want you to sign a lease. However, if you have church member or friends or co workers that could write references or be available for a landlord to call and check references and you can explain your situation , you may find a landlord willing to work with you to help you out for a couple of months.
Also some hotels have rooms with kitchenettes. So that is a consideration as well.
I would also talk to your insurance agent, not the adjuster, and tell them your estimate from the contractor is $13000 but the adjuster is only agreeing to pay a little over $8000 plus your $500 deductible. That doesn't add up to you getting your home fixed properly. You agent SHOULD be your advocate. I would try to see if I could get him to work for you to get either more money or a contractor that will work for insurance payment.
 

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I don't know if you have a Lumber Liquidators in your area but they are having a big sale on stuff Sept 19-30. You could get some nice flooring fairly inexpensively. They have vinyl planking starting at $.69 per sq ft. Laminate starting at $.39 per sq ft. The absolute cheapest is junk but you can get some better stuff at a low price.

I would buy the cabinets yourself. If you have places to buy used or liquidation items, that would save a lot of money. We have places like Habitat for Humanity stores which offer new/used products that are donated. We also have places like Building 9 that offers new products at very low prices. Building 9 had some very nice quality sheet laminate that was dirt cheap. Also some nice oak cabinets for a very low price.

Don't use bleach on mold, it will come back. Hydrogen Peroxide is what gets rid of it. There was also another product that we found out we could have bought at the store but can't remember what it was now.
 

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I agree, insurance companies can be heartless. All they care about is there pocket.

Doing some work yourself, will definitely help. There is nothing wrong with second hand cabinets, as they can be really nice with little touch ups.
Craigslist under "materials" may have some good deals.

I would first focus on the mold issue, as you said, it may be underneath where you don't see. The floor boards may have to be replaced as well.
I am not sure if the house will need to be inspected and approved for living in, so it will have to pass mold inspection, if that is the case.
If mold is in the air, it won't be approved and you won't be able to live in it, until it is.

Shop around to other licensed and bonded contractors, get estimate from each.

Ask you insurance for a list breakdown on what they are covering within that price.

Was any furniture ect damaged? If so, that should be in the cost of damages as well.

You are entitled to housing that maintains at least your normal standard of living and in the interest of your family through this very difficult period of time, you should insist on this with polite but firm resolve.

If you feel the insurance company's offer for settlement is too low, you can always politely reject it in writing with an explanation as to why.
strong negotiation and a willingness sometimes helps.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Thanks so much, I am so blessed to have you guys to talk too, this is overwhelming :(

Thankfully, I think there were no damages to any furniture, or personal belongings as well as appliances. It caused a hole in the floor where it was leaking underneath the home, and that saved us I think, from having our front room flooded. It stopped very very close to the sofa, and tv stand, but not close enough that I had to move either of them.

I am going to give the insurance company a call and ask to speak with our agent. If I get put off, that he is on a call, etc. then I will just drive up there. I really want to see the estimate breakdown in person as mentioned. Hearing this or that over the phone really doesn't help, if we don't know what the insurance co is allotting us for as far as flooring, carpet, etc.

I agree about 2nd hand cabinets, etc. We do have a Habitat for Humanity store here, and that's actually the one I was talking about when I said we could look for used cabinets. But Craigslist is definitely an option. I've never heard of the other stores mentioned, but surely there must be some places like that around here.

I will check the yellow pages, and craigslist for another contractor. There is a slight chance my brother can help with some stuff, and my husband's brother can help with other stuff. My brother can pretty much do everything, problem is he lives 4 hours away, and is busy with his job. But, might be able to pay him for helping with something. My husband's brother can help, might even be able to help us lay the floor ourselves.

But mold is certainly what concerns me.
It looks like we'll have to tear out the walls in the dinning room <for sure>, and at least 2 of the 3 big walls in the computer room.

I think the biggest problem area on what to replace/not replace is going to be in the kitchen walls. I do see us having to replace the wall behind the stove/fridge that separate front room from kitchen. it has a window and counter as well.

My husband tries his best, but sometimes he does things with the 'just get it done' attitude...that's why I don't want him to replace anything himself lol They did good replacing our bathroom floor, but uh....yeah, it's just tolerable lol
 

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A lot of times the insurance company will up their estimate...but you have to provide the evidence. A rule of thumb is to get THREE estimates (all of which will be higher than the insurance). They will usually give you some money up front. Do go to the contractor you want and show them what insurance will pay. Then you guys may work it out with them where you do some tear out and they meet the insurance price but at the same time, you are writing letters to the insurance company with all your evidence attached and well supported. Also, as you tear out, photograph what they didn't see. Make sure you have pictures before you tear out too. Use words in your letter like additional damage and undiscoverable at the time of inspection...etc.

I would consider renting or purchasing off CL an RV so I could hook it up and live on site to supervise the remodel. My experience is they will up their estimate for you, and you are allowed to remediate, so go ahead and get the wet out, work on drying (time to rent some heavy duty fans) and stopping that mold growth. make sure your crawl and attic ventilation is sufficient and open. You could even pay for a home inspection report...they will be working for you and may find things insurance missed. Then insurance would do a reinspection and give you more $$$
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
A lot of times the insurance company will up their estimate...but you have to provide the evidence. A rule of thumb is to get THREE estimates (all of which will be higher than the insurance). They will usually give you some money up front. Do go to the contractor you want and show them what insurance will pay. Then you guys may work it out with them where you do some tear out and they meet the insurance price but at the same time, you are writing letters to the insurance company with all your evidence attached and well supported. Also, as you tear out, photograph what they didn't see. Make sure you have pictures before you tear out too. Use words in your letter like additional damage and undiscoverable at the time of inspection...etc.

I would consider renting or purchasing off CL an RV so I could hook it up and live on site to supervise the remodel. My experience is they will up their estimate for you, and you are allowed to remediate, so go ahead and get the wet out, work on drying (time to rent some heavy duty fans) and stopping that mold growth. make sure your crawl and attic ventilation is sufficient and open. You could even pay for a home inspection report...they will be working for you and may find things insurance missed. Then insurance would do a reinspection and give you more $$$
Thanks so much! A contractor just left, and said basically the same thing, he said the insurance companies will try to low ball us, and not to accept payment or cash a check so they can't rip us off.
The guys who came out yesterday never called us back :( So in order to get a 3rd estimate, we'll have to get another one out here.

I will show your post to my husband when he gets home.

I found out to rent a Travel Trailer it would be $1,175 for 2 weeks, they'd make it so we could hook it up to the house. So it might be a better option for us than a hotel. We plan on putting a shut off valve on the kitchen water lines, so we can keep the water on. Then we could still use the house for showers, and toilet, so that would help.
 

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Glad to be here for you. ;)
It is a very devastating time for you and your family.

Stand tough with the insurance co. Don't let them take advantage of you. You have been paying them all this time, so when you are in need, they need to pay up.
You paid your share, now it s time for them to pay theirs, that is what we pay them for.
 

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Glad to be here for you. ;)
It is a very devastating time for you and your family.

Stand tough with the insurance co. Don't let them take advantage of you. You have been paying them all this time, so when you are in need, they need to pay up.
You paid your share, now it s time for them to pay theirs, that is what we pay them for.
Exactly
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Thanks, I am definitely am not settling with the amount they are offering.
I am also not settling with the lousy customer service they are offering.

The office opens at 9am, and I plan on going up there and demanding to speak with our agent, and I am going to tell him what is going on.
If he doesn't do anything I will demand to speak to someone at the main headquarters.
I also will be asking to see the write up of what they think needs replaced and the amount for each item.
I'm almost betting the walls, and cabinets are not on there.
Then, if the agent isn't willing to help us get more $$, then I am going to ask him to come to the house and see it for himself!

I am going to be filing a complaint about poor service from the adjuster. I don't care if the lady is busy, if she's that busy then they need to have someone helping her so she can at least return her calls!

Also, I am going to complain that they advertise that 'they are here for us.' I am going to ask in what way?!?! To write us a measly check that won't fix the issue, and write us off? We keep asking for help, how to proceed, etc. etc. and she just says we need a contractor. Ummm... yeah, so we did that and they don't want to pay what he was estimating damages to be? 2 other contractors don't seem to want to touch it because the insurance company doesn't want to pay enough! I'm hoping this last contractor will call or email us with an estimate, because we might use them.

Originally I thought we could stay here until tomorrow, but it got worse just from bedtime last night to this morning.
I told the adjuster yesterday morning when I did finally get a hold of her, that I'd call her after lunchtime to set up housing plans, that I wanted to check on the travel trailer first and get price estimate.
of course I called her back and left a message, and guess what? nada, no returned call.

The POD should be delivered sometime after lunch, so we can start getting stuff out tonight. I don't have boxes though, so that could be an issue. I have a LOT of pictures on the walls haha....

On top of all of this, I really shouldn't be driving the SUV :( it's got a misfiring issue, not sure where the problem is. If anyone remembers my rants about this thing...heh.. all I said to my husband was 'I told you so x50."
We found a truck we'd like to look at if they still have it, so fingers crossed and we'll go look at it after he gets off work.
 

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Good luck with all that you are going through! Can you get boxes from the local grocery or liquor store?
Stick to your guns! Don't let them wear you down!
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Thanks!

We are starting to make some progress! I went to the office, and the woman at the front desk who is always so very sweet and sincere was extremely helpful. She immediately emailed the adjusters supervisor and I've been in touch with her through the morning.

Sadly, they can't really give us more $$, because it is a mobile home, and they are treated differently than a regular house, which I knew that. But she did explain how the 'depreciation' works. The adjustor didn't explain what that meant, so she must have just assumed I knew 'insurance talk.' lol

Example: if a floor board was $5.00 30 years ago, then it might be worth $2.00 now. That kind of thing. Being a mobile home and the type of policy they offer for them, that's just how it is :(

This home is not new, it was put here new in 1987.

Ok so that was finally explained in dense-human words, dense part being me LOL!

So, thinking once we know what the contractors break down is, we'll know how to proceed, if we will have him do certain things, or find someone else.
Once we get stuff out of the house, we can start tearing things out.
My husband said he can rent tools that he doesn't have that he'd need and we can work on it over the weekend. Sadly, he can not take his vacation to do it, because he just literately put in for his vacation time right before this happened last week! :( He is also the type that come hell or high water he will not ask for a day off of work <hasn't missed a day since our youngest was born, and she will be 7 in 2 weeks!> -- he works 6 days a week.

As for housing.
They are approving our rental of a travel trailer! She told me to set it up for delivery, and call them to do the billing, we have $3,000 we can use for housing, and that would pretty much give us a month in a travel home if need be.
I just need to call the RV place and make sure everything is good to go.

They also got the bill for the POD, and will reimburse my husband for that.

So now, we wait for the POD, should be here any time in the next 3 hours.
Once it's here, I'll start taking stuff out, oh fun.

We definitely need to go box hunting at the stores. I'll call Kroger and see if their big truck is tonight or tomorrow night, that'll be the best bet. Cereal boxes are always the best.

I just keep looking around the house thinking...Where in the world do we even start! Not kidding about a lot of pictures. I guess I am glad I didn't finish the computer room decorating, haha! Everyone says my front room is like a shrine lol
 

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At least you know what you are working with and can budget accordingly. I would still take the full amount in a check to you instead of them paying people. Then you can figure out what you can do to save money to pay a contractor for stuff you can't do.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Thanks! Yep that's what we will do. I was told if we take a check to do things, and find additional damage, then we can report it - taking the check and cashing it won't close the claim. Whew. That was a big worry. Of course now I need to let her know to go ahead and write the check.

But... either way we won't be getting any repairs done before Monday. This place will need to dry out for at least a few days. The remediation place is coming out tomorrow morning to start drying things out. This should have been done days ago :(
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Well, thought I'd update...

I really thought my day was getting better.

Flood Pro guy came out to give an estimate on tear out/replacing floors, and see about getting things dried out.

He said it's too late for drying anything out, damage is done, nothing that could be done to reverse any of it.

He did a moisture check and EVERY room in the house - except my bathroom has high moisture :(
He said everything has to come out, and some of the walls - of course insurance estimates didn't have any of the bedrooms in their estimates, so that will most likely change.

He said he would try to get together an estimate and would call our adjuster immediately to let her know just how bad it really is.

The good news is, if we were to use them to tear out the floors and move our stuff, insurance would pay for all of it. But I need to know what kind of replacement cost, and if they would store our stuff while we or someone else replaces it. I forgot to ask him that.

This guy certainly knows what he is doing that's for sure. He said his job is to make sure moisture is not an issue and doesn't become an issue. If we don't fix everything we'll have problems :(

So that's where we stand now.

Travel trailer will be here tomorrow. Pod was delivered a couple of hours ago. Driver must have thought I was crazy going ooooh and ahhhh at how cool it was to deliver it off of the truck LOL
 
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