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deerpark

Question about home owner's insurance claim

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So a friend of mine went away for a couple of months. 

He asked me to check up on his house every so often.

I went a total of about 4 times?

He just got back to find his basement flooded due to a leaking pipe (dont know if it was due to freezing or just failed).   

Couple questions:

1.  Should he call his insurance company right away (assuming he hasnt already done so) or should he call an adjuster and or a lawyer first?

2.  Can I in anyway be held responsible?  :D

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I would think he would want to get the basement pumped out so he needs to contact his insurance company.

I don't see how you could be held responsible unless he was paying you to do this requiring you to check the house like once a week or so.  Even then the pipe may have started leaking a couple of days after your last inspection.

I pretty much avoid this problem by shutting off the water if I'm going to be gone longer a couple of days.

 

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@deerpark

For your peace of mind, it could not hurt for you to have a consultation with an Attorney versed in liability issues, about what, if any exposure you may have.  While you may not at first, appear to be legally at fault, your "friend" could possibly come after you if you have liability insurance, as one approach to pay for repairing the damage, which could start to snowball. (see below).  In today's litigious society, anything is possible.

BTW, I would advise your friend to do the following:
Call his insurance agent, then an approved plumber with this type of experience and then an attorney.
For proof of the event and resulting damage, I would suggest that he take as many photographs of the flooded basement now, before his plumber starts to pump out the water.  Also, take photos during that process and of all the water damaged items before he startsto move them.  He should ask his insurance agent what else they may need from him.  Finally, he should not be too quick to accept the Insurance Company's check for repair work and replacement of damaged goods.  He needs to make sure as much as possible that he has accounted for ALL repair and replacement costs for the damaged plumbing pipes and electrical wiring, wall and insulation materials, as well as ALL items adversely affected by the flooding.  One of the biggest issues that arise post flooded homes is the growth of mold.  If it is not addressed then the entire house could be affected, causing respiratory health issues for him and his family.   
BTW, I am NOT an attorney and am not giving any professional advice, just some thoughtful suggestions and ideas to ponder....
Good luck.

AVB-AMG

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1 hour ago, AVB-AMG said:

@deerpark

For your peace of mind, it could not hurt for you to have a consultation with an Attorney versed in liability issues, about what, if any exposure you may have.  While you may not at first, appear to be legally at fault, your "friend" could possibly come after you if you have liability insurance, as one approach to pay for repairing the damage, which could start to snowball. (see below).  In today's litigious society, anything is possible.

BTW, I would advise your friend to do the following:
Call his insurance agent, then an approved plumber with this type of experience and then an attorney.
For proof of the event and resulting damage, I would suggest that you take as many photographs of the flooded basement now, before your plumber starts to pump out the water.  Also, take photos during that process and of all the water damaged items before you start to move them.  Ask your insurance agent what else they may need from you.  Finally, do not be too quick to accept the Insurance Company's check for repair work and replacement of damaged goods.  You need to make sure as much as possible that you have accounted for ALL repair and replacement costs for the damaged plumbing pipes and electrical wiring, wall and insulation materials, as well as ALL items adversely affected by the flooding.  One of the biggest issues that arise post flooded homes is the growth of mold.  If it is not addressed then the entire house could be affected, causing respiratory health issues for you and your family.    Good luck.

AVB-AMG

Yah, I need to talk to an attorney. 

Theres already friggin mold.  Somehow it got upstairs and into the garage for some reason. 

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Did your friend ask you to check in or pay you to check in and be responsible? 

And how good a friend if he would hold you responsible? 

Assuming he knows there are leaks? Policy owner needs to cal insurance and would assume you need to get someone in ASAP to get it pumped and avoid more mold damage.

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AVB's advice is pretty solid. He is especially right about not taking their first offer. They will usually be able to put up numbers to justify it, but it will represent less than 100% of work and based on my experience will 100% not cover the market rate in NJ. They know this. You need someone on your side who knows this as well. 

I would add that your friend should get out his copy of the policy. Most of them have some sort of language about mold these days.  Either eliminating their liability, or limiting it. 

I would also stop throwing the word flood around. If your insurance are not assholes they will tell him this as well. this isn't a flood, it's water damage. Floods are floods and they don't insure them. While any misunderstanding should be rectifiable, using the F word is just asking for your life to get more annoying. 

 

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I said this before...hire a consumer adjuster.  I used to be one but no longer am involved  due to the killings.

 

the insurance company will lowball.  It  is what they do.  There is no fee if you don't like the settlement number they arrive at (the indy adjuster)

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