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January 2013

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Is this real life?


I need to come vent so I can make sense of the progress/lack thereof/actual reality of my life at this point.

It's been FOURTEEN MONTHS since we were relocated by a tornado, and here's what I know:


  • State Farm is still undecided when it comes to the extent of damage/true cost of said damage to our house (which we bulldozed in November '09.)
     
  • We have worked with six different adjusters, which has been a beating despite hiring a public adjuster's firm last March ... how many pictures of the same shit does State Farm require?  None of them agree on what they see in those pictures anyway.
     
  • Issues that seem to me to be simple; black & white/yes or no answers only, can be debated between authority levels at State Farm for-fucking-ever (especially when those same, simple issues must be presented to each new adjuster so they can "get up to speed."  Who's speed?  Sure as hell not mine!)
     
  • Examples:
  1. State Farm says, "a certain percentage of the rock on the outside of your house was damaged.  Therefore, we will pay for you to replace/repair that amount of rock."  I say, "My policy specifies that the house shall be returned to its absolute original state.  How am I to match natural rock purchased from a quarry that no longer exists?"  State Farm says, "Find rock that pretty much matches, and make the repairs.  We don't give a shit if the exterior of your house would then exude a quaint, patchwork quilt-like quality, rather than the Craftsman style you worked so hard to create."
     
  2. A natural result of the revolving-door method used by State Farm to assign adjusters is that settlement monies are parsed out a bit at a time.  (To be clear:  our coverage amounts are more than adequate.)  For instance, a settlement check approved for "further roof repairs, due to recently discovered damage more extensive than previously thought" came to us as recently as December of 2009. 
     
  3. However, a completely different department at State Farm decided we have had more than adequate time to complete all repairs (though some repair issues are still under review and  therefore, that specific settlement money hasnt even been paid to us yet), and put a stop to our A.L.E. benefits as of March 31st.  Alternative Living Expenses come from a portion of your policy that doesn't have a limit; A.L.E. is considered "actual expenses acrued" and should be in effect for up to 24 months following claim reportage. Result of the complete lack of in-company communication and general dumb-assedness?  THE COST OF KEEPING A RENTED ROOF OVER OUR CHILDREN'S HEADS COMES OUT OF MY POCKET UNTIL I COME UP WITH ANOTHER OPTION.  A big THANK YOU to State Farm for agreeing to lease this house for a ridiculous amount of money, which my landlord now believes should be non-negotiable.

  •  Believe it or not, the truly nasty piece of work hasn't come from State Farm ... nope,  the most painful screwing has been done by the company (called in by our local S.F. rep the day after the storm) whose job has been to pack, clean and store the contents of our house - even damaged items.  The everyday objects that represent the history of your family - from the largest piece of furniture to the smallest bits of your junk drawer.  As of today, April 9th of 2010, I have no fucking idea what has become of (a) my late brother's golf clubs, (b) the 300 year-old spinning wheel from my husband's family, (c) the lawyers' bookcases that once stood in the home of my great-grandmother, (d) the dining table that appeared untouched by the storm, ad nauseum.  Sure, this company brought down a UHaul truck full of boxes last November and unloaded them into my newly-rented storage unit ... so far, I've opened boxes full of the random magazines and holiday catalogs that were lying on every flat surface, random paperback books, reams of dirty printer paper, unmatched socks and cheap towels from the laundry room - you get the picture.  Actually, I've yet to find a box of framed photos, now that I think about it!  When I called the warehouse to ask when they would be ready to deliver the big items, I was told, "Oh, all your broken furniture 'n' stuff?  We disposed of all that."  WHAT THE FUCK?  "DISPOSED OF IT?"  Why does that sound like code for, "Are you kidding?  We sold everything that State Farm didn't take!"
     
  • Yes, State Farm paid us the full replacement value of all the electronics on our personal contents inventory, with the understanding that we could either refuse the settlement money and keep the items, or (by accepting the settlement) give State Farm ownership/permission to sell if they chose to do so.  But at no time did the cleaning company have any right to assume possession of ANYTHING they took from our home, damaged or not.  Everything for which we received settlement money became property of State Farm; the majority of these things had little to no resale value in State Farm's eyes, and protocol says we should have been given the opportunity to buy back anything we wanted for the settlement value assigned by State Farm (i.e. an amount that had been considerably depreciated.)  Were we given that opportunity?  Fuck, no!  Everything we didn't file on the personal contents inventory was to be cleaned and returned to us.  Anything for which we'd been paid belonged to State Farm.  Which is why I'm actually trying to work WITH the insurance company to find out just how much was stolen from us, how much was "stolen" from State Farm, and why the FUCKITY FUCK this cleaning company thought they could get away with this.

WHEW!  OK, I feel better.  Well, maybe not "better," but I have a clearer picture of just how fucked up this all is, now that I've written it all down.  No worries, I don't expect anyone to read or comment ... in fact, I might wonder just how much free time you actually have if you DID make it through this rant, and chose to comment on it!  But if I'm not in a drastically different place - physically, emotionally, financially - a year from NOW, at least I'll have this entry to refer back to. 

There is the random positive bit of information here and there:  over the past 14 months State Farm has released a significant amount of settlement money w/a few small bits still to come; we have finalized construction plans; if the weather holds we could actually see a house-shaped slab of concrete on the same hill we called home until 2-10-09.  Not to mention the never-to-be-taken-for-granted-again fact that I have two healthy children who remain relatively untraumatized (on the surface, at least), and a marriage strong enough to handle anything else the universe has in store for us. 

Comments

jeeebus! :(
I read it! :) But fuck. I hate insurance companies. How much do they spend, I wonder, to try to AVOID paying you what they should?
good vibes your way and I hope it is all cleared up soon...
I'll take all the good vibes I can get!
W-O-W! That is some messed up sh*t! I've been on the receiving end of insurance co. shenanigans myself, but never in this area or in this particular way. Feel so sorry about your irreplaceable missing family antiques! Hope you can get some satisfaction before the next millenium. Glad you are at least in a rented house and no longer motel-world. Mostly glad you/hubs/kids survived and brought the most important values along. *HUGS*

Random thought: what if we never had to pay any kind of insurance (for which we get little or nothing back when push comes to shove) and were allowed to save said $$$ every month?! Brave new world, voila.
Bring it on, I'm ready for the brave new world. I've always had that attitude toward health insurance, personally - I've gotten way worse than this from them, to the point that it does make sense to just save the same amount to use for a rainy/sick day!
Oh man, that is terrible!

I really hope things get better, as much they can.
Thanks - I honestly don't mean to whine, things are getting better. It's just that sometimes you get blindsided by something, and it hits you so much harder because you weren't expecting to be screwed from THAT end! (OK, yeah: pun intended!) You gotta laugh when you can, right!