Tuesday, March 12, 2019

I Got My House Back!

For any of you who follow me on Instagram, you know I had some significant water damage in my lower level recently. 

The water came pouring in through a conduit pipe left exposed by the well company when they came to replace my well pump back in late November. 

 

The disaster occurred when the snow started melting and the rains came down hard and the well head went under water, at the end of January. 

My contractor estimates that at least 1,000 gallons of water poured into my lower level in a 24 hour period. 


I contacted the well company and my insurance company immediately, filing a claim with each. I made arrangements for the well company to come out and repair the exposed conduit, before starting any repairs.

It was quite the expensive nightmare, and neither my insurance company nor the well company's insurance company coughed up a penny.  The well company even made me pay for the new well head, plus a charge for a service call. Whaattttt? Didn't they have to come out anyway to see how they screwed up?

It's incredibly frustrating to pay for insurance and for services from licensed and insured professionals when they won't give any restitution for anything that goes wrong! 


A disaster mitigation company had to come in and rip up the lovely floors I had just put down a little over a year ago.

I couldn't watch.....it was heartbreaking. 

They set up industrial sized drying fans and a giant dehumidifier for a few days. 


They came back the following week and ripped open the walls, removed the wet insulation, and sprayed everything with an anti-fungal solution to prevent mold. 

They stuffed in new insulation, and their job was done. 


My fabulous contractor, who has done much work on my house in the 4 years I've lived here, came in at that point and started repairs. 

He started patching up the walls, and gave them a fresh coat of paint.


Thankfully Home Depot still carried the same flooring, so we didn't have to repair the floors from one end of the house to the other, just in the family room and office nook. 

I love these floors - they have 24 hour moisture protection from spills and puppy accidents, and they are so durable and easy to keep clean. 

They can't protect from 1,000+ gallons of water pouring in and under them, however....!!!


I'm happy to report that my lower level is NEARLY back to normal after almost two months of upheaval! 

I say nearly as my contractor was finishing up a few last minute things this morning, and I have a little more puttering to do to get everything back as it should be. 


What a relief to have things back in order again! I spent the weekend getting as much as I could put back in place, puttering and feeling as if I had just moved house again.


My little Duraflame heater was flickering away, making my once-again cozy family room even cozier.  I love that little heater, it's amazing how quickly it takes the chill out of a room! The flames are so realistic looking, it really feels like I have a tiny wood-stove down there.


I think one of my favorite parts was getting my beloved books back on their shelves. 

Even the shelves had to be rebuilt, as the moisture made the previous system collapse and rip right out of the wall. 

Each book was lovingly wiped with a damp rag, and carefully tucked into just the right spot.


I have quite the collection of wonderful books about decorating, gardening, and country living. It feels so good to have them out where I can find them again!

For the past two months everything from the family room was shoved in any available space, with piles of books, cd's, and dvd's piled everywhere. 

My neat-nick (my daughters would say 'anal') tendencies had a really, really hard time living with that. Fortunately it was downstairs, and not in my main living area...but I still had to make my way through it daily to take care of my pups and my seedlings


When all was back in place and looking cozy, I put on a cd, lit some jasmine incense, and enjoyed some much needed quiet time in my 'new' family room. 

It feels so good to have my house back...I keep going downstairs for no reason just to admire it.

Now the trick will be to keep my daughter from making it a mess again...wish me luck!

64 comments:

  1. It looks wonderful. You've done a great job making it home again. I can't believe that neither insurance company did anything, that is unreal.

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    1. Thanks Marty - and yes, I'm incredibly frustrated with the whole situation, it's ridiculous that there was no restitution.

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  2. I am so sorry for what you have been through! Glad it is getting back to normal! Rhonda

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    1. Thank you, Rhonda! Many, many people have gone through far worse things, it feels inconsequential in the grand scheme of things, doesn't it? Yet it's still aggravating....sigh.

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  3. What a terrible thing to happen! But it looks great now. And I love your fireplace stove!

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    1. Thank you, Mari! That's a great little heater, and helps me keep my oil bills down!

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  4. That is awful neither company would do the right thing. It all looks nice and fresh now though. I'm curious about that little stove. Sounds like it works for you, but what do you pay in electricity if I may ask? Our propane bill this winter was sky high with all our cold weather and something to supplement that would be nice. Take care. We'll be gardening before we know it.

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    1. It's a great little heater, for sure, PJ! For me it works perfectly since I went solar in the fall....so to keep the oil bills down I keep the heat really low down there and just use the heater when anyone is hanging out in the family room. For you I'm not sure....you'd have to weigh the price of propane vs the price of electricity. Of course, it's very light and you could move it from room to room and keep the heat low in rooms you're not using, that would certainly help.

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  5. You could file a complaint with the BBB and your state's attorney's office. We had an issue very similar and found restitution. We also had the option of taking them to small claims court but settled before hand. The company who did this should be the one to pay and your ins co. sees that, IMO. Bad business doesn't make for a thriving business and reviews matter...........

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    1. Thank you, Patti, that's great advice, I'll do that! We were planning on filing a civil suit with our town court once all the invoices were in....but I'll also contact the BBB!

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    2. I thought you would like to know I just filed a complaint with the BBB, Patti - thank you for that advice!

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    3. ....and I also filed a claim with the NY State Attorney General's office!! Thanks again for that advice!

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    4. In Illinois we have Channel 5 News Responds. They will get to the bottom of many issues where no one will assume responsibility and the homeowner is left holding the bag. Do you have anything like this in NY? Keep at them!! Sorry to say this but being a woman they assume you'll just get fed up and let it go. The company should pay and it's probably why their ins co has denied this. Send the co's "Ins Co" a certified letter asking for all paper work pertaining to your case. It most states it's the law, they have to show you what they received from the well co and it very well might not be the same as what actually happened. Don't give these people an inch, they may come back with you pay half and we'll pay the other. Don't settle for anything other than 100% full payment......

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    5. Thanks, Patti!! I filed 5 complaints in the past two days, so I'm hoping one of them will help get me payment!! Say a prayer!

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  6. You have a significant home improvement following and you should not underestimate that. We trust your judgment on products, vendors, and processes, and I am sure you have a substantial loyal readership. It may be very helpful to those who have to have well-work done to know the name of the company that will not only not stand behind their work, but charges to fix their errors, so that they can vote with their dollars on whom they do business with. I know that nay seem difficult, but I've been in business for years and you may have more leverage than you realize. They are likely afraid of having to assume long-term liability for mold and are hoping you'll stand down. And I understand how after all the upheaval, you may just want to move on, but I've been through three floods on multiple rental properties and know whereof I speak. The well company should be stepping up on this, and you have a pretty powerful home improvement forum right here on your blog--might not hurt for them to know that if they don't already. Just a thought, given what you are paying to correct the damage. It's a great feeling once it is fixed, regardless of how it gets that way, and I wish you the best!

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    1. Anne, thank you so much for those encouraging words!! I would love to fight them tooth and nail and get them to pay for the damages - my emergency fund took a huge hit on this and to get that money back would be extremely helpful. I'll keep fighting!

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  7. Wow that really stinks deb! I'm so sorry but I'm glad you're pretty much back on track now <3 Looks great!

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    1. Back on track but out a HUGE lump of money, Ellen!!

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  8. Im glad you got it all back together. Its looks so good!
    I love your cozy litte home.
    Lisa

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    1. Thank you, Lisa! I love my cozy little home, too, and it has served us well while my daughter has been living here, that she had her own space downstairs to relax or have friends over.

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  9. It does look nice now that it is done again. But, it is ridiculous that neither company would help with those costs.

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    1. I agree. I am shopping around for a different insurance company as I don't want to continue to pay a company who doesn't actually cover damages - what's the point?

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  10. I can't believe it wasn't covered by insurance!! Glad it is all repaired and pretty again.

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  11. oh, what a pain in the butt! But.. it looks wonderful now, you must be very relieved. Love that little fireplace stove!

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    1. I am relieved, Karen Ann - this weekend I'll take care of the last few things, getting the TV back in place, giving the whole downstairs a good vacuum and mopping....it will be great to finally have it all fresh and clean and DONE!

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  12. Geez, what's the point of having insurance? I can't believe they did you that way. This is why I can't own a home. All the terrible expenses that occur and you're on your own to pay for it. I'm glad you have your home back.
    Brenda

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    1. That's exactly how I felt, Brenda!! I am looking into switching insurance companies now!

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    2. Unfortunately, most (if not all?) insurance companies are this way. Our insurance company (Country Companies) has denied basement flooding, plus our roof falling apart last year (they only offered to pay out $400 when it cost us $3300 in repairs!!). We've had to pay for all of this out of pocket. We called around to check other insurance companies and what they cover and they're all the same. There's so many loopholes with these insurance companies, it's pathetic.

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  13. Dear Debbie ~ I am so sorry you've had to deal with these companies that did NOT take care of things. I am glad you've filed a complaint and a claim and hope you get financial restitution.

    Your room looks cozy and oh so inviting. Enjoy ~ FlowerLady

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    1. Thank you, sweet Lorraine. I am not taking this lying down!!

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  14. Not sure what the laws are in your state but here in NJ contractors such as the well company are required to carry insurance that covers things like this. Now the well company probably doesn’t want to file a claim so they are counting on you not following through. You should most definitely pursue getting them to pay and if for any reason their insurance was not in force or lapsed your homeowners insurance should have covered it and then fought to get the money back from the well company. Sadly the name of the game is to deny claims and hope that people stand down.

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    1. That is sad, Diva, what a bogus operation! My insurance denied the claim, the well company denied it was their fault, so their insurance denied the claim also - well guess what - I'm not giving up!!

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  15. OH Deb I am so sorry this happened. How awful that the insurance or the well company would not take care of any of the expense. I hope you can get a lawyer and maybe look into getting the Well company to cough up some of the expense since it was their error to begin with. Just happy you have your sweet family room back and all done up so nice.
    Hugs,
    Kris

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    1. I'm happy to have it back too, Kris, but I'd also like to have all that $$$ back that I should NOT have had to pay for repairs!! I'll keep fighting!

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  16. Oh, my goodness! Bless you heart and I'm so sorry you had to go through this! Everything looks so nice now! Hope you're doing well.
    Be a sweetie,

    Shelia ;)

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    1. Nice to hear from you, Shelia, hope you are settling into your new home nicely!!

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  17. I'm glad to read the comments giving you advice for fighting this. I agree it sounds like they're both hoping you're sick of the situation and hope you'll give up the fight. With insurance companies, it also seems like they drag things out as long as possible so people are anxious to settle and accept lower amounts. Good luck on all of it - we're all rooting for you. In the meantime, everything now looks beautiful!

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    1. Isn't that just awful, Sue? What a scam!! We pay for insurance year after year and they won't even cover a claim when we need them....what's the point?

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  18. This is awful!! I'm so so sorry!! What a BIG MESS. So much damage and It's unbelievable that neither one will pay for it!!?? that is just NOT RIGHT. It was the well company's fault, right? Dang!! Well, I'm glad it's back to normal or close to it by now and you have your peaceful home back. However, I would APPEAL AND FIGHT THOSE DENIALS. In better news, I came across a book today and thought of you when I saw it. It's called "Junk Beautiful She Sheds". They have it on Amazon. It looks colorful and fun!

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    1. Thanks, Debbi, for thinking of me - I'm definitely going to hop over and check out that book!!

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  19. You go, Girl! Let me tell you a couple very quick things you can do without even paying a lawyer to possibly help remedy this situation. Every state in the country has an Insurance Commissioner or the equivalent (a quick Google indicates it may be something like, "The New York Dept. of Insurance"), and it is that state cabinet member/agency's job to deal with insurance companies who don't function ethically or legally (frightening how many will just turn down claims on the basis that most claimants "go away" and not fight it--read "The Rainmaker by John Grisham sometime, it illustrates this very well). It is AMAZING what a phone call to the Insurance Commissioner can do relative to addressing a difficult claim. If your insurer is claiming it was an "act of God" and yet you have a photo that shows that break, I would definitely make a call to the Insurance Commissioner and forward the photo. I have seen situations where all it takes is one phone call from them and suddenly an insurance company becomes more cooperative. Also, there is bound to be some kind of state agency that licenses well drillers. If your well repair company is also a driller, I would contact that agency and make a complaint. (If they are not a driller, I would ask that same agency what recourse you have to file a complaint relative to the well repair company and where it can go on record what they did to you.) Good luck with this!

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    1. Thank you so much for this advice, Anne!! The Better Business Bureau has already been in touch with the company - they notified me this morning. I'm off to check out the insurance commissioner - great tip!!!

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    2. Anne, you're amazing! I filed a complaint against my insurance company with the NY State Dept of Financial Services, and a complaint against the well company with the Dept of State Division of Consumer Protection and also with the Empire State Well Drillers Association. Hopefully somebody can help me get back the thousands I have spent on repairs!

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  20. I am so sorry for the nightmare you have experienced. And yes - the above advice was excellent.

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    1. I'm so lucky to have so many wonderful readers, Bernideen! I have now filed 5 different complaints....hopefully I get some restitution!!

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  21. Everything is looking so pretty, just as it did before! What a complete nightmare and I can't believe it has been almost 2 months..wow, time is flying by! I also cannot believe that no one would accept responsibility and pay the claim! I would be furious! Hopefully your complaints will be fruitful to repay the cost of the damages! Love and hugs!

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    1. Say a little prayer, my friend!! Maybe someone up there will listen to you!

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  22. Wow! I was getting all anxiety-ridden just reading this post. Having been victimized myself by mother nature, I feel your pain. On the plus side (and I do believe that there is good and bad in everything), it now looks phenomenal, and you have to be proud of the way that you dealt with things. Bravo!

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    1. I am proud, Pattie....and I really hope the well company gets their act together and coughs up for the damages!!!!

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  23. Reading through the comments, I am so glad you have filed complaints with all the appropriate places! I didn't know about the state insurance commissioner...I have showed the information for our state (IL) to Brian and we are going to look into filing a claim against our insurance company for only offering to pay $400 of our roof damage last year when it cost us $3300!!

    We've had two major basement floods. The first time it happened, we had carpeting down there in the family room. Our contractor suggested just painting the cement floor instead of putting down any kind of new flooring, as he said even if we put down Pergo or tile, if/when we had another basement flood, the water would go under the flooring and it would be ruined. So we went with the painted floor and just use big inexpensive area rugs in the needed areas.

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    1. Wow, that's awful, Melanie - what was their reasoning for such a low payment? Please God I won't have any more water in the basement....there was never so much as a drop down there until now. I'm praying I get some help from one of those agencies, as it cost me a fortune to get the repairs done!

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  24. Debbie, I am so happy for you that you have your home back. I am so sad and frustrated for you that you couldn't get any help for either the well company or your insurance company. Just think how the four years' worth of premiums while you've lived there could've been applied to that project. smh

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    1. Yes, that's exactly how I felt, Rita - the 4 years of premiums would have paid for the repairs!!

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  25. Debbie, That is terrible that your insurance company or well company wouldn't stand up to taking care of this. I mentioned this to my husband and he asked me "why" they wouldn't. That's what premiums are for. It looks lovely, I just hope you get reimbursed for something that wasn't even your fault.

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  26. Great work, Debbie! Good luck with the complaints and remember to keep up the pressure. If you need further proof, you could find a hydrologist,another experienced well driller, or a contractor to review your photos and write an analysis saying the water entry into your house was due to the well repair contractor's negligence. That might be a little harder as professionals don't always like to line up against their brethren (hydrologist most likely but may cost you something), but it's another idea to keep in your back pocket. I wish you the very best and hope you'll keep us posted.
    Best,
    Anne

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    1. Thank you, Anne! I will keep trying, and keep praying!

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  27. Debbie, I am very angry. I feel the well company should be helping you for free....I am sure you did not order them to make a well that would fail ...where do they get off. Gaa, I can not get started on this. Insurance...another big pain you know where...you better have it , for what? I must have some anger building up...I feel like I could just explode. LOL Sending you hugs, so I won't say a bunch of bad words. Bless your heart honey, xoxo, Susie

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    1. Thank you, sweet Susie! It's nothing compared to what you're going through....I will keep you both in my prayers.

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  28. OMG how frustrating for you! I hope it gets settled in your favor. No advice here as I'm sure rules are different from where I live.
    I often wonder why we have insurance as its like pulling teeth when they have to pay up on something...but then I realize you can't go without it. Crazy
    Having said that, the basement sure looks nice now. I love that flooring.
    Take care
    Jeannette

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    1. It's crazy that we have to have insurance, Jeannnette, and then they don't help when we need them. It feels as if it's all one big scam!

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  29. I'm so glad you have your house back...and just in time for your birthday, yay!! Now I hope that someone comes through for you and coughs up some cash. It's not right. Don't give up.

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    1. I agree, Kim, it's not right. They are still fighting me!!!

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I thank you from the bottom of my heart for taking time out of your busy day to leave a comment...I truly love reading your comments and I try to respond to each and every one of your sweet comments right here on my blog page!

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