Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Why ALLSTATE sucks.....

My sister recently had some water damage to her kitchen that forced her to pack up her two kids and move in with the P's. Never fear, though, as this was only going to be a temporary situation while her insurance carrier ALLSTATE would take care of everything for her. You know, because that's what ALLSTATE is supposed to do when you have damage to your house and you pay ALLSTATE all that money every month to cover your premium. I'll let my sister take it from here (my apologies for the length; "ALLSTATE" will continue to be in all caps to prevent you from forgetting who we're dealing with):

It all started on 4/16. I was doing dishes when I noticed that there was water on my floor. I have two small children and just assumed that one of them had spilled some water, so I wiped it up and moved about my business. This started occurring more frequently over the next several days so I figured that there was a bigger issue. I checked under the sink and it was dry there, but now water was pooling on top of my laminate flooring causing it to bubble. A week later, I called ALLSTATE to file a claim. From there, I was contacted by a restoration company (Advantage Restoration) that very evening, on behalf of ALLSTATE, who quickly set up an appointment for the following morning. I was advised to have a plumber meet them at my house. I scheduled the plumber to arrive and work began to determine the root cause of the leaking water. The following morning, I spoke with Orestes, an ALLSTATE claims handler, who indicated that he would be my contact throughout the duration of the process. He set up a time for the adjuster to come out on 5/6. He explained that the most important thing is to have the plumber identify the cause and get that fixed. He further explained that ALLSTATE would be responsible for correcting whatever damage was caused by the incident.

Early that afternoon, the restoration company [again - hired by ALLSTATE] started pulling up my flooring to determine the source and to everyone's surprise, there was a substantial amount of mold under my floor. They quickly sealed up the exposed floor with black plastic and duct tape. They gauged water levels at various areas in the kitchen, and at one place in my wall, the gauge read 40 [which I have since come to learn is the highest the water gauge goes and indicates intense moisture]. As a result of their findings, the plumber cut open a hole in my wall to find 14 inches of mold growing behind it up against where all my lower kitchen cabinets are located. They continued to survey the area for the source of the water. The restoration company brought a dehumidifier to dry up the moisture. After several hours and an $1800 plumber bill [which I later learned was my responsibility to pay], it was discovered that there was a constant drip coming from the bottom of my dishwasher. The plumber capped off the pipe and removed the dishwasher, and the source of the issue was stopped.

The next day, I spoke with Orestes/ALLSTATE and told him that there was a substantial amount of mold in my kitchen, and I would no longer be staying there for risk of harm to my children. He indicated that as a result of the mold, he would not be my contact within ALLSTATE anymore and that I would hear from someone new by either the end of that day or Monday. He also stated that my policy held a $5000 mold coverage clause in addition to the dwelling coverage. Good news!

On Monday afternoon, I started making phone calls to ALLSTATE to try and determine who would be my new claims handler as I hadn't heard back from anyone. I contacted my ALLSTATE agent's office three times. I contacted their toll free number twice, and I even called Orestes' back-up; Orestes was out on vacation that week. Nobody knew who my contact was going to be until I spoke with Nancy. Nancy indicated that my new claims handler would be Joy Bush, who unfortunately had already left for the day (I wonder when I was going to be called?). I explained to Nancy that there was mold in my home and I was not currently staying there to avoid potential harm to my children. She explained that ALLSTATE would be reimbursing me $50 a day for any days spent away from home. I told her that I had last lived in my house on 4/25. She noted my claim and ensured me that she would be notifying Joy to call me first thing on Tuesday. I explained that I wanted to push up the date that the adjuster would be coming to my house because 5/6 was too long to wait until further work could be done to my kitchen. She said that she didn't have access to the scheduling system to make changes, but again ensured me that Joy would be calling me on Tuesday morning to make changes. I would wait until Tuesday with baited breath. I'm not sure what that means either.

On the morning of 4/29, Tuesday, I hadn't heard from Joy (figures). I called and got her voicemail but her voicemail was almost full, so I only got to record six seconds before it cut me out. She called me back late that afternoon. I explained that I wanted to move up the day the adjuster would be coming to my house because I still was not living at home. Her response was that she could cancel the appointment for 5/6, but the earliest she could have the adjuster come out would be 5/13. [Grasp that in your brain and try not to laugh at its ridiculousness. Joy may be a moron]. I declined her offer, contemplated calling her names, thought better about it, and accepted 5/6. She did confirm with me as well though that ALLSTATE would indeed be paying me $50 a day for each day spent away from home. I wanted to verify what my next steps were as the claimant. She said that I should wait for the adjuster and not proceed with any removal of anything until that point and that mold specialists would need to come out to test the levels before and after the restoration to ensure it was completely gone. She added that my kitchen would be quarantined during the mold removal process, but not to worry because ALLSTATE would be responsible for ensuring that my kitchen was back to normal and any damage caused by the leak would be corrected. I verified if I was still responsible for the plumber bill [because I am a mother of two and $1800 is a lot of money]. She confirmed with me that I am responsible for correcting the cause of the issue and ALLSTATE would be responsible for correcting everything damaged as a result of the issue.

[NOTE: Every day from 4/24 through 5/6, Advantage Restoration came back to my house to test moisture levels in my home. The walls became less moist with the dehumidifier, however the sitting water beneath my laminate flooring began to spread and the moisture levels increased further out beyond my kitchen to my living room].

On 5/6, George Lance, the ALLSTATE adjuster arrived at my home. He took pictures, surveyed the big hole in my wall, viewed pictures I had taken on 4/24 and indicated that my claim would NOT be covered. He may have also indicated to me that he's the devil, but I was too busy bleeding from my ears from the first part to confirm the 2nd part. However, I did hear him say that because the cause of my problem was not "sudden and accidental" (his words), my claim would be denied. I asked how I would know otherwise that what was occurring had been doing so for a long period of time. He sympathized at first and stated that there is no way I would have known, but a policy is a policy and only sudden and accidental incidents are covered. I explained that it was sudden to me and certainly wasn't caused by me either. I wanted to understand how their hired company could tear up my floor and cause for a hole to be opened up in my kitchen wall, but how ALLSTATE (a company I pay a premium to every month to pay for these types of things should they arise) wouldn't be responsible for correcting at least those things. He stated that the restoration company was just trying to determine the cause of the issue. I asked what my next steps should be. He stated that it really wouldn't cost too much to fix what was damaged. He went on about how drywall is cheap and I could go to Menards and get new laminate flooring. I was inclined at that time to inform George that I already spent $1800 on a plumber and I didn’t have an additional $2000 lying around to spend on an issue in which I already pay money to have cared for by ALLSTATE. I told George that my main concern was my children and that I was not going to be bringing them back to a home that still had mold in it. I asked what I needed to do to get the mold issue resolved and what happened to my $5000 mold coverage. He stated that if my claim was approved, I would have access to the mold coverage. But since he was the devil and my claim was denied, I'd be SOL for that too. I asked George to tell me how ALLSTATE only covers sudden and accidental issues, yet can also have a mold clause. Mold doesn't appear over night, right? I suggested to George that perhaps ALLSTATE only has mold coverage for their customer's "peace of mind" when it seems now that it could not have been their intention of covering this issue for me. I asked him if he agreed that their "sudden and accidental" policy canceled out the mold coverage altogether. George stated that "Yeah, they kinda do."

Well fuck you George!

I then asked if I would still be entitled to the $50 a day since I cannot move my children back into my home until the floors are replaced and the walls behind the cabinets are replaced. He said that since my claim was denied, I would not be entitled to that either. He again stated that it wouldn’t cost too much to fix it and offered me additional cheaper solutions. I explained that the mold is a severe issue for me and I could not believe that ALLSTATE was not taking accountability for exposing my children and me to open mold spores. Lest we forget, they were the cause of the open flooring and the open hole in my wall. George offered me a solution. He stated that I could just spray some anti-bacterial stuff from Ace Hardware around the walls and cabinetry for the time being. And I could just tape up some plastic around the walls! Aside from being the devil, George also appears to be very handy. And a problem-solver [sarcasm alert]. He then said he needed to do his write-up in his car for the next hour.

About a half hour later, the restoration company arrived to do the daily test for moisture. George came to talk to them and advised them to remove the dehumidifier from my home as ALLSTATE would no longer be paying for their services at my home.
So let’s review:

I have missing laminate flooring.
I have a big, gaping hole in my wall.
I have sitting water under my flooring that needs to be removed, but the boards are covered in mold, so I can’t bring my children home until the entire kitchen is fixed.
It took a week and a half for the adjuster to come out.
The adjuster was insulting.
I am not getting reimbursed for having to live elsewhere.
I incurred an $1800 plumbing expense.
I still have yet to hear from my actual ALLSTATE agent about the denial.

And the kicker – I was asked to complete a customer satisfaction survey.

This guy can kiss my ass!

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11 comments:

  1. add Says:

    Surveys can be intrusive and time-consuming to administer while market research panels are expensive to organize and do not provide the immediacy required by the real-time economy. Getting customer survey to share their insights has long been a challenge for companies.

  2. Jane Says:

    Is that a spam comment?

  3. Brian Says:

    I'm not even sure how that happens. ADD (is that as in the disorder or math term?) ruined a perfectly good 20 minute blog.

  4. Jane Says:

    While clearly a long blog...I learned never to use ALLSTATE insurance. Mission accomplished.

  5. Brian Says:

    Update: it's not over yet. We may be getting somewhere with these people. Hopefully we'll know more today.

  6. Brian Says:

    Another update: I've heard from countless people that she may be screwed. The common response I'm hearing is a variation of something like "yeah the same thing happened to me, they don't cover slow leaks."

    To that I say horse[bleep]. Policy or not, it's wrong.

    TBC........

  7. Michael Says:

    Well, I suppose that's what happens when Pedro Cerrano endorses your insurance company.

    Yes, that was an obscure "Major League" reference. The whole situation just sucks, though. Why is it that insurance companies have this penchant for being completely useless at the worst possible moment?

  8. Anonymous Says:

    To answer Michael about the useless insurance company..."An insurance company wants to sell insurance without actually offering insurance". I thought my hubby was cute and on the money when he came up with that one.

  9. Anonymous Says:

    http://www.youtube.com/laylafanucci2

    Song I wrote about this horrible company.
    Title:

    You're NOT in good Hands

  10. Anonymous Says:

    http://www.youtube.com/laylafanucci2

    Song I wrote about this horrible company.
    Title:

    You're NOT in good Hands

  11. Anonymous Says:

    The Cat In Your Hat
    holding your own

    Those who hold high places left you holding a near-empty toolbox ...
    Good luck on a rainy day with that disability! disasterprepared.net