Monday, January 18, 2016

5045 Brush fire 4 - homeowner's insurance

Monday, January 18, 2016

So many religions. So little God.


A little history:  I closed on the city house in October of 2010.  I was mostly living in the country house, going back and forth, few days camping in the new house, few days sorting and packing in the old house, moving small stuff bit by bit.  In fact, Jasper was living upriver until January 2011, when I finally brought him down.  The old house needed a lot of work before I could sell it, but I figured that I could finish everything by summer of 2012 at the latest.  In fact, if I finished by then, I even had a buyer.

And then on April 1, 2011, I had the kidney problem.  The mistakes and ineptitude of doctors had me out of action all summer.  Simply driving for 10 minutes or climbing a flight of stairs had me bleeding and cramping, and then after that it took me many months to get my strength back.  In 2012 I was starting to get in gear again, and then Sandy hit, and I spent the end of 2012 and the beginning of 2013 in the hospital with what they said was a very bad case of pneumonia, but I suspect was actually an infection from the rampant mold left over from Sandy.  (Probably actually Legionnaires.)  So, more months of trying to get my strength back.  That was most of the summer of 2013.  In the meantime, I got older.  So did the country house.

By 2014 I'd lost my buyer, so there wasn't the urgency.  I got lazy.  I was more interested in playing with the Nugget.  Plus, in the winter I had to contend with snow and ice on the long uphill driveway, which I didn't feel capable of climbing by foot anymore especially if it was too slippery to drive it (I am in fear for my hips, NO falls allowed), and in the summer the air conditioning was kaput, so I had lots of excuses to avoid going up there.

In 2015 I had new a/c installed.  You know, I thought I hadn't gone up there all summer, but actually I visited in June, July, August, September, and October, so I wasn't as bad as I thought.  I was up there two weeks ago.

Anyway --- the insurance on that house.  Back in the beginning, when I was between houses, I explained the situation to my homeowners' insurance folks, and they were fine with it, especially since I wasn't planning to rent it out, so my policy stayed the same coverage at the same rate.  Well, it's a few years later, and I guess someone took a look at my file and wondered what's going on.  I got a letter from the local rep up there asking me to call and fill them in.  So my next trip up (two weeks ago) I stopped in their office.  I wanted to explain this (and plead my case) in person rather than on the phone.  "So, this is not your primary home?"  "No, but all my furniture and most of my books and clothing still think it is...."

She said she'd check on what they could do.  They'd probably still cover it for fire, but only the structure, not the contents.  I shrugged and said that's fine, most of the valuable stuff is out, all I'd be sad about is the dining room suit and the antique Chinese bed.  She said she'd get back to me soon.  I haven't heard from her.  I don't know what that means, but at least they do have to notify me if they cancel, and I'm not going to push it.  Until they notify me in writing, I still have the same coverage.

You know, there are a LOT of summer and weekend homes up around there. Ski lodges.  Fancy hunting cabins. Rich folks from the city.  Some major estates.  Some little cottages.  At least one house two doors down from mine (belongs to some semi-famous writer).  I wonder how their insurance is handled?

One of the things we discussed is the amount the house is insured for.  As usual, the insurance companies increase the coverage every year, with no regard to the housing market.  I think they go by inflation or something.  It can get ridiculous, because if something happens, they will pay what it will cost to rebuild or repair, which is WAY less than what they had boosted you to and you'd been paying premiums on.  Turns out, they had me insured for twice what I could sell the house for.  I asked if we could reduce that, because even if the house burned up or flew away, I'd still have the 1.3 acres of ridge-top land, the fantastic views, the foundation, and the well.  All I need it insured for is demolition and rebuild costs, and I'm sure that's much less than the market value of the house and land, especially when that's been inflated.  You know, she actually had to think about that..  Man, I think it's obvious.

Anyway, that's another thing that was hanging over my head and emotionally sapping.  Still waiting for the other shoe to fall.

1 comment:

Zayrina said...

Well given your concern about misdirected mail, I am not sure I would sit back with a wait and see attitude. Just saying as it could be a most unpleasant surprise at some point.