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View Full Version : Put in an insurance claim or not?


CatherineID
01-04-2015, 03:49 PM
We're having trouble with our roof leaking. It is a long story but the roof is just built wrong. It is a metal, standing seam roof and they installed it with the screws in the valley, not the ridge.

We're the third owner of this house that is less than 10 years old. Before we made an offer we asked why so much turn over and the seller had a reasonable answer. Well, once we moved in, we figured out the true story. This house and four more in the area were built by one guy who cut every corner possible and was a cheap as could be. We've already fixed several of the errors that have driven the previous homeowners out of here - like the persistent sewer gas smell when you used the washer. Anyway, the roof seems to be the biggest problem right now. In the seller's declarations they were asked if the roof ever leaked and they said "yes" due to a loose screw that was replaced. Yeah right! All of the screws come loose and after every storm you have to go back up there to tighten them because the wind lifts the roof and makes them loose again. Now that we've lived here we can see signs of lots of leaking. Even the inspector didn't catch on.

So last night we had another bad storm. A tornado went through just to the east of us but we really weren't affected except for increased wind. But the roof started leaking again - in two new spots - and this is the day after we were on the roof to tighten everything down and seal the screws (if you glue the screws in place they're less likely to back out).

So the water damage is obvious but the drywall looks like it is going to dry straight. With some Kilz and fresh paint the water spot should be gone. The ceiling in the living room is a 20-ft cathedral ceiling so that is going to be harder to paint. There is a small crack in the drywall in that ceiling where the water made it start to give way but it is a relatively easy fix.

Hubby says we should look into making a storm damage claim. There was obviously a storm and there was obviously damage. We have a relatively low deductible. My issue is, I don't want them to pay for the painting. I want them to repair or replace the roof. Replacing the saturated insulation would be a bonus, too. I'm considering this because I've called around to the roofers in the area and no one is willing to do a repair on the roof because they can't guarantee that the leaks will be fixed. I'm thinking the insurance company will have more pull in getting someone to do the work.

Thoughts?

Selena
01-05-2015, 01:56 AM
I'd file a claim with your insurance. At some point, they are going to check your roof (it is starting to happen at renewal time in other areas. It has in my area). No denying a storm came through.

You might consider speaking to a lawyer re: the obvious misstatement re: leaking roof. I don't know how strong consumer laws are in your state. If you have a mortgage, the bank might be of some assistance also. I'm surprised the bank was not aware of the issue with your (and the other) houses. But then again, they may have been the source of the builders funding (or have some other relationship). A loose screw typically does not cause the type of leaks you describe.

Also read the contract from your inspection. They may have some liability as they should have caught it. Your insurance company should be aware of this inspection. Insurance companies will go after other parties for damages.

coaltrain
01-05-2015, 10:09 AM
It wouldn't hurt to talk to your insurance company. You'll have to be very careful what you say however - could be construed as insurance fraud if you knew about the problem before hand.

I don't understand why you say you wouldn't want them to pay for painting. When you have an insurance claim the object of the claim is to put the damaged part back to the way it was before the damage. You can't just pick and choose what you want to have done.

I agree with Selena about the house inspection when you bought the place - if there was such a thing. Around here there is no mandatory house inspection when purchasing/selling a house. So without an inspection you would be pretty much on your own. I'm pretty sure (without looking) that there is something in the paperwork when I bought our house that says "caveat emptor".

Bearfootfarm
01-05-2015, 12:30 PM
Insurance isn't likely to pay for faulty installation, since there is no obvious visible damage to the roof.

The best solution would be to replace the old screws so you'll have all new noprene washers, and then paint it with Kool Seal, or a similar product to prevent further leaks

MissouriFree
01-05-2015, 01:34 PM
I agree completely with Bear ( surprise ! ) and have to say the insurance company should not have to pay on this. Saying " be careful on what you say amounts to nothing more than insurance fraud in my opinion and is one of the reason the rest of us pay high rates

CatherineID
01-05-2015, 10:30 PM
We obviously didn't know about this problem ahead of time!

There is no talking to the bank. We don't have a mortgage.

I mentioned not worrying about the paint because we'd paint anyway. We just weren't thinking about re-painting the ceiling. However, I loathe the idea of doing all the work to put up fresh paint only to have it ruined again the next time it rains. Besides paint is cheap. It is the labor and inconvenience that is the most bother.

And we could replace all the screws or we could unscrew all of them chalk the hole and put them in again. That is what we've been doing to make repairs and those areas hold only to have another area give way. Plus we put down plastic in the attic so if the roof does leak it doesn't saturate the insulation and drywall. The problem is we can't do that in the cathedral ceiling.

The rake on the roof is pretty steep. Seriously, we're not equipped to keep going up there. We seriously risk our lives every time we affect a repair.

There is some obvious (minor) damage to the reverse side of the roof from a previous tornado. Since that portion is over the porch, not the living quarters we don't worry about it.

What I'd ideally like to do is find the original roofing contractor and sue him. The problem is the guy who built the houses has died and no one will admit to having done the original work.

Lesson learned ... buy the house that is well built. A cheaply built house is nothing but headaches.

Selena
01-07-2015, 01:51 AM
If the builder had a construction loan, the bank (or title company) might have the name of the roofing installer. If you know what kind of metal roofing, the manufacturer may know the name of the roofer. The manufacturer may know their product has a design flaw. One of my relatives had siding replaced by the mfg due to a design flaw.

I disagree about filing a claim - if the damage is being caused by a storm, it falls under your insurance coverage. The screws hold just fine if there isn't a storm from your description of the problem. Just be cognizant that your insurance agent may report your inquiry which goes into a database. Even if no claim is filed. Claims by prior owners can affect your rates - google CLUE and insurance.

CatherineID
01-07-2015, 10:21 AM
The roof material isn't defective, the installation is just not ideal.

The previous owners were paying $2400 a year for their homeowner's insurance. We started out paying $1300 a year and over the course of the last three years we're now paying $2000. I fear even inquiring about a claim because we could quickly get to that $2400. We have a hard time finding insurance because we're rural and are supported only by a volunteer fire department. Thankfully it has a decent rating when it comes to response time but still.

MissouriFree
01-07-2015, 10:52 AM
During working days we went to SMS ( standing metal seam) roofs on nearly all the buildings on my base. The manufacturers were very careful about their warranties. They required all installers to be trained in installing their products or the warrenties were void. I guess this proves why they did that.
If you can find the installer I would say sue them also.

Back to insurance . To be clear -- the storm did not cause the damage - the faulty installation did.

We also live in a state that has no inspection requirement but we always pay for an inflection anyway and the contract make the contract contingent on the inspection and any needed correction. We also have a water test when well is involved.

Added

I went and looked up disclosure requirement in Mississippi. The seller is require to tell you of any problems and I would find it hard to believe these leaks have not happened before.

Here us what is ask:

http://www.mrec.ms.gov/docs/mrec_forms_property_condition_disclosure_statement .pdf

ROOF:
Has the roof been replaced or repaired during your ownership? Yes _____ No _____; If yes, when? ___________ During your ownership have there been any leaks, water back ups, or problems with the roof? Yes ____ No_____ The roof is _____ years old.

You may want to go back and check that.

Bearfootfarm
01-07-2015, 01:58 PM
And we could replace all the screws or we could unscrew all of them chalk the hole and put them in again.
It's far easier and much more effective to use new screws than it would be to try and caulk all the old ones

I'd pay someone to do it, and to coat the roof with a good sealer, not "paint"

Also, a true "standing seam" roof shouldn't have any visible screws anyway.

My house is 110 years old with the original standing seam roof, and there are no screws or nails that show

There's no point it doing anything inside until all the roof is repaired

CatherineID
01-07-2015, 09:54 PM
Back to insurance . To be clear -- the storm did not cause the damage - the faulty installation did.

We also live in a state that has no inspection requirement but we always pay for an inflection anyway and the contract make the contract contingent on the inspection and any needed correction. We also have a water test when well is involved.

Added

I went and looked up disclosure requirement in Mississippi. The seller is require to tell you of any problems and I would find it hard to believe these leaks have not happened before.

Here us what is ask:

http://www.mrec.ms.gov/docs/mrec_forms_property_condition_disclosure_statement .pdf

You may want to go back and check that.

I mentioned that ... the seller said "yes" the roof had experienced a leak but they "replaced the missing screw". They in no way revealed the extent of the number of leaks. During the sale we did ask why there looked like water marks on the walls. They said in the kitchen it was due to steam and in one of the bedrooms it was due to an aquarium. Yeah right! The first leak we had was with water running down the wall in that exact spot!

But the storm DID cause the leaks. The wind lifted the roof and the roof leaked in places it never leaked before.

momma_to_seven_chi
01-12-2015, 07:53 PM
Insurance isn't likely to pay for faulty installation, since there is no obvious visible damage to the roof.



They actually come out and inspect damage before they send a check. There is no way they are going to pay for this. I wish they would just for your sake, but I wouldn't hold your breath waiting for them to pay.

DavidOH
01-13-2015, 06:49 PM
This sounds more like a lawsuit than an insurance claim.
Call the insurance company, they may direct you to do that.
This is no minor leak. I see this as a major defect and/or FRAUD ! :mad:

Anyone who knows anything about roofing should have caught that.
That's what inspectors are for ! :wacko:

Just as Mo Free said " -- the storm did not cause the damage - the faulty installation did. "

connie189
01-15-2015, 12:07 AM
Here in IL buyers have up until 2 years to file a suit against a seller for this sort of thing, IF they can prove the owner had prior knowledge.

I would check out what time period it would be for your state. :)