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Topic: Insurance Company giving me a hard time

Posted By: kd460 on 08/26/14 05:45pm

2001 Trail-lite 5280-s 5th wheel camper. I have owned it since 2002 (purchased from dealer new as last years inventory).

Camper is stored out doors since day one in Michigan. Well, we had record snow falls this last winter and my camper suffered from it.

Ceiling (roof) is now sagging from the weight of the snow this past winter. I can physically move the ceiling up and down about 3 inches with my hands. When I say ceiling I mean roof and all.

Contacted insurance company, eventually got someone to come look at it. Was told by this person after he looked at it, that it will be fixed, was about $5500 dollars and was asked where would I like to take the camper for repairs? Was also told by the inspector that he would put the information together and insurance company would contact me.

Never heard from them for weeks, so I called. Now they are saying that they feel it is water that caused the sag and is not covered.

I insisted there is no leak. Never has been a leak, not before sag, and not even now after. I was in the camper during a heavy rainfall 2 weeks ago, and still no leaks. White ceilings and walls. Not a spot or stain, or drip or anything since I have owned camper.

So now they say they want to do a "Seal Tech Pressure Test". To determine if there are leaks. What the heck is that?

Bottom line, it looks like the insurance company is trying to find an excuse to not pay for the repair. Estimate was $5500 by the inspector looked at it. Now, different tune.

Sorry, feeling a little frustrated, I guess it is time to call a lawyer, but, anybody got any advice?

This is an ultra lite camper with no ceiling beams. Just the laminated foam type ceiling. My guess is the weight caused the foam to break or the laminations (glue) to fail...thus causing my problem.

Anybody got any advice or ideas? Am I getting hosed by the insurance company? Never had a claim before till now! UGG!


Posted By: Water-Bug on 08/26/14 05:59pm

I had snow damage to the roof of a stick built house, here in Michigan, last winter. Insurance company pointed me to a fine print clause in the policy that said weather damage must be the result of a named storm. Ever hear of a named snow storm or tornado? Total BS. Insurance company is history to me now. Luckily damage wasn't extensive and caught befor we had water damage.


Posted By: justlou on 08/26/14 06:01pm

The Seal Tech Pressure Test is a method of determining the source of leaks in an RV. They use a device that usually mounts to the roof vent and creates a positive pressure inside the RV. They then spray a soapy solution around any joints, doors, windows or any place else that could leak. If there is a leak it will produce bubbles.
It sounds like the insurance company is just covering all the bases before paying on your claim. I'm surprised the inspector agreed to a payout without first performing this test.


justlou
2006 Monaco Diplomat
2014 Honda CR-V AWD


Posted By: newman fulltimer on 08/26/14 06:38pm

my question is why didnt you clean the snow off before it got that heavy


Posted By: NJRVer on 08/26/14 06:44pm

Water-Bug wrote:

I had snow damage to the roof of a stick built house, here in Michigan, last winter. Insurance company pointed me to a fine print clause in the policy that said weather damage must be the result of a named storm. Ever hear of a named snow storm or tornado? Total BS.




You obviously don't watch The Weather Channel.
They name all the storms now.
Do a "history" search for the storm on Weather.com and give the insurance company whatever they named it.


Posted By: amandasgramma on 08/26/14 06:53pm

Every state has some sort of Insurance Commissioner. The companies have to be licensed to do business in the states. Contact them. They might have an online complaint form. Ins. companies DO NOT LIKE getting a letter from them.......too many complaints, they may lose their license. [emoticon] A heck of a lot cheaper than an attorney.


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Posted By: gemsworld on 08/26/14 06:53pm

How about telling us the name of the insurance company so we can avoid it? I just had Ameriprise deny a claim on a vehicle and I'm planning to take my business elsewhere when the policy expires in 3 months.






Posted By: whistlebritches on 08/26/14 07:10pm

All insurance companies want is the premiums. They never want to pay claims and if they have to pay one, then they cancel you. Also, the dictate how much deductible you must carry, what they'll cover and not cover (more not than will). Our insurance in Kansas raised the deductible to $1000 on all wind and hail damage. Now 90% of what we get here is wind and hail!


Posted By: Duke-44 on 08/26/14 07:19pm

gemsworld wrote:

How about telling us the name of the insurance company so we can avoid it? I just had Ameriprise deny a claim on a vehicle and I'm planning to take my business elsewhere when the policy expires in 3 months.


Take your business elsewhere now and ask for a prorated refund.


Posted By: kd460 on 08/26/14 08:12pm

This is an ultra lite camper. The roof is a foam composite type roof, no struts from what very little info I can find. The Styrofoam is the roof. The Styrofoam also has chambers in it for ducting of the air conditioner ducts. Like honeycomb? If anybody has anymore information on the actual construction of the roof or walls of a trail-lite 5th wheel, I am all ears.

From outer most layer of the roof to the inside of the camper, my understanding is, rubber roof material, then rigid layer of fiberglass, then 3 or 4 inches of Styrofoam, then a layer of laminate wood, then interior decorative finish (wallpaper type material) for the inside finish.

The layers and foam are all bonded together with adhesive and this is what makes it "strong". Again, no beams. Any of the wall braces and beams are aluminum.

I spoke with a local RV repair shop when I noticed the problem and he told me about the construction of this camper and how the roof is made. He had many units in his shop at that time for roof repairs...mostly aluminum and wood type framing.

Camper is stored 150 miles from my home, do not use in the winter so did not observe how much snow was on the camper. Never had an issue before, but this winter was a record snow fall... and ended up having a problem like many other campers in the state...many other campers who had an insurance company that paid for their repairs.

I get basic legal services thru my employer for a small monthly fee, so I am going to at least talk with an attorney and see where I stand. I am hoping if I let the insurance company know I will not be a push over, they may speak a different tune.

Who knows at this point. Thanks.


Posted By: hotbyte on 08/26/14 08:18pm

If you can move the roof that much, I'd bet it is highly likely a pressure test will show leaks whether they were there before the snow or not.

Best of luck with it! Shame the insurance companies can pull this crap.


2018 Minnie Winnie 24M



Posted By: stargirl96 on 08/26/14 09:12pm

Our 5th wheel suffered damage to the frame after we hit a pot hole last year. Spent nearly the whole summer haggling with our insurance company before they would authorize repairs. I feel your pain.


Posted By: JiminDenver on 08/26/14 09:51pm

It sounds like the best you can hope for is a good leak test. It's sad that insurance companies look for any reason not to pay. It started out making sure they were not being defrauded and turned into lets see just how far we can push it.

Good Luck


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Posted By: kd460 on 08/27/14 03:21am

JiminDenver wrote:

It sounds like the best you can hope for is a good leak test. It's sad that insurance companies look for any reason not to pay. It started out making sure they were not being defrauded and turned into lets see just how far we can push it.

Good Luck


Yes it is. Again, no claims with them in 13 years of ownership. No claims with any of my insurance companies for 3 autos, 1 home, 1 atv, and 2 motorcycles in over 25 years!

Was told by the insurance company, "based on pictures, there is no visible sagging to the roof from the outside" Therefore the inside sagging must be caused by a water leak".

Which is a bunch of beans, there is sagging, and the only reason there is no puddling of water after a rain in the low spot is because the roof angles down at that section (slopes towards the rear by design).

I will run a tight string across the roof (on the outside)from left side to right side and measure the amount the roof sags in the center with a tape measure. Will take photos and video of that. Would love to just drop a marble on the roof and watch it roll to the low spot on the roof, but this is the angled portion of my 5th wheel so it will probably just roll off the back of the camper.

Am also going to take a video of the outside roof while I am pushing on the inside ceiling. You can visibly see the roof rise up and down.

Again, there is no wood struts to break or rot, and any water leakage would A) stain the interior finish somewhere, B) leak out one of the joints/seams in the interior panels (seams every 4 feet on the interior ceiling), C) leak out one of the multiple light fixtures, or D) leak out one of the AC ducts/vents.

Again the roof is 4 inches of foam and has tunnels cut in the foam that makes the AC ducts and a route for wiring.

Yes, I am an adult, and am not afraid to "man up". Even when it hurts. It's called "character". If the camper had a history of leaks, I would admit it, take my lumps and would not be posting right now. I am not afraid to mention my mistakes or take responsibility for my actions.

This is just a matter of the insurance company trying whatever they can to avoid paying. The more I think about it, the more I need to speak with a lawyer. KD


Posted By: kd460 on 08/27/14 03:31am

hotbyte wrote:

If you can move the roof that much, I'd bet it is highly likely a pressure test will show leaks whether they were there before the snow or not.

Best of luck with it! Shame the insurance companies can pull this crap.


Good point! Which came first, the chicken or the egg? But again I will state loudly, the roof does not leak, even it's current state. KD


Posted By: NJRVer on 08/27/14 05:11am

That seems like a poor design for a roof.
It is similar to a SIP used in sticks and bricks homes. The difference being in a S&B they aren't used in what amounts to a flat/very low pitch roofs. Then on top of that channel out the foam for ducting which would weaken it more.
I can easily see this not holding up to the weight of a large snow load especially if the snow is wet or starts melting and refreezing.

I would be curious as to what the manufacturer specs out the snow load rating of their roof design.


Posted By: noplace2 on 08/27/14 08:08am

You appear to not wish to name the insurer. Why is that?


‘Love is what’s in the room with you if you stop opening presents and listen.’ - Elain - age 8


Posted By: Matt_Colie on 08/27/14 08:43am

In my experience with damage to the boats that I have kept (not owned, but maintained for the owner), that this will go to court. They may try to claim their "Named Storm" exclusion and I can't begin to tell you how a judge will go with that. But you had best be ready to have all your ducks lined up.

Matt


Matt & Mary Colie
A sailor, his bride and their black dogs (one dear dog is waiting for us at the bridge) going to see some dry places that have Geocaches in a coach made the year we married.



Posted By: kcmoedoe on 08/27/14 08:49am

The more likely reason for the delays in paying is the insurance company is having a hard time justifying that the damage was actually caused by a covered event (storm, accident, meteor strike etc.) and is not just poor construction and general rot and deterioration which is not covered by insurance. The fact that the rig was unattended and the loss reported long after the actual event occurred would definitely raise a red flag.


Posted By: PamfromVA on 08/27/14 09:43am

Am I the only one wondering how much this camper is actually worth??? It is 13 years old and they may have to total it and give you a check for whatever the blue book value is - if it can be found.


2016 Grand Design Reflection 303RLS
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Posted By: JiminDenver on 08/27/14 10:21am

I just found out that it doesn't take much to get a rv totalled. They will once the repair hits 70 percent of the value.


Posted By: bid_time on 08/27/14 01:21pm

From all of your description, no cracking, can push up on the ceiling, etc., etc., I think what you are describing is water damage. There is no other way the top can remain in place and the underneath sag. You say the glue became unbonded, I'll bet it did, because the wood become damaged by water. The reason you never saw any sign of the leak - because the wood soaked up the water, and/or what didn't soak in ran off down the walls.

In any event, the answer to your dilemma is really quit simple and doesn't involve a lawyer. Agree to take the ceiling down, if no water damage is evident they pay, if it is, you pay. If everything is as you say you got nothing to lose. If you do have a leak, you need to know it and fix it.






Posted By: hotbyte on 08/27/14 01:25pm

bid_time wrote:

From all of your description, no cracking, can push up on the ceiling, etc., etc., I think what you are describing is water damage. There is no other way the top can remain in place and the underneath sag.


This is NOT what OP said is happening. He said when he pushes up on the ceiling, the roof pushes up as well. Below quote is from one of his replies in this thread.

Quote:

Am also going to take a video of the outside roof while I am pushing on the inside ceiling. You can visibly see the roof rise up and down.


And this from his original post.

Quote:

Ceiling (roof) is now sagging from the weight of the snow this past winter. I can physically move the ceiling up and down about 3 inches with my hands. When I say ceiling I mean roof and all.



Posted By: bid_time on 08/27/14 01:36pm

So hotbyte, the solution I proposed should be a no brainer then.


Posted By: sacmarata on 08/27/14 01:39pm

bid_time wrote:

From all of your description, no cracking, can push up on the ceiling, etc., etc., I think what you are describing is water damage. There is no other way the top can remain in place and the underneath sag. You say the glue became unbonded, I'll bet it did, because the wood become damaged by water. The reason you never saw any sign of the leak - because the wood soaked up the water, and/or what didn't soak in ran off down the walls.

In any event, the answer to your dilemma is really quit simple and doesn't involve a lawyer. Agree to take the ceiling down, if no water damage is evident they pay, if it is, you pay. If everything is as you say you got nothing to lose. If you do have a leak, you need to know it and fix it.


Why should the OP be the one to take the ceiling down? The insurer is the ones who already sent an inspector who deemed it to be covered. If they wanna back peddle, then the onus should be on them.

The OP said there was a long delay after the original determination. Just imagine what the insurer would do if the OP had a long delay in payment. They expect their premiums, the OP should expect service!


Posted By: hotbyte on 08/27/14 01:42pm

bid_time wrote:

So hotbyte, the solution I proposed should be a no brainer then.


I made NO comment about your suggested solution. I only pointed out that you had incorrectly paraphrased what OP said.


Posted By: bid_time on 08/27/14 01:45pm

sacmarata wrote:

bid_time wrote:

From all of your description, no cracking, can push up on the ceiling, etc., etc., I think what you are describing is water damage. There is no other way the top can remain in place and the underneath sag. You say the glue became unbonded, I'll bet it did, because the wood become damaged by water. The reason you never saw any sign of the leak - because the wood soaked up the water, and/or what didn't soak in ran off down the walls.

In any event, the answer to your dilemma is really quit simple and doesn't involve a lawyer. Agree to take the ceiling down, if no water damage is evident they pay, if it is, you pay. If everything is as you say you got nothing to lose. If you do have a leak, you need to know it and fix it.


Why should the OP be the one to take the ceiling down? The insurer is the ones who already sent an inspector who deemed it to be covered. If they wanna back peddle, then the onus should be on them.

The OP said there was a long delay after the original determination. Just imagine what the insurer would do if the OP had a long delay in payment. They expect their premiums, the OP should expect service!
So let the insurance company take the ceiling down. Who takes the ceiling down is immaterial.


Posted By: hotbyte on 08/27/14 01:46pm

I totally agree with you, sacmarata. The insurance company sent out a representative of their choosing to inspect and make a determination of covered damages, if any. Their back peddling is totally screwing the customer.


Posted By: bid_time on 08/27/14 01:46pm

hotbyte wrote:

bid_time wrote:

So hotbyte, the solution I proposed should be a no brainer then.


I made NO comment about your suggested solution. I only pointed out that you had incorrectly paraphrased what OP said.
Yes I was wrong about what he said.


Posted By: hotbyte on 08/27/14 01:58pm

Thanks bid_time. It seems lately I've seen several topics here and on boating forums where something that someone stated gets twisted or some fact off and before long the topic has ran multiple pages and way off-track.


Posted By: Beaker on 08/27/14 03:07pm

Quote:

Now they are saying that they feel it is water that caused the sag and is not covered.


In 2001, my insurance totaled my 1999 Trail Lite due to water damage.
Got $2500 less than I paid for it 2 years earlier.

Hope you get it.


2008 Silverado 2500HD Duramax
2010 Cruiser 26RK


Posted By: RV daytrader on 08/27/14 03:23pm

newman fulltimer wrote:

my question is why didnt you clean the snow off before it got that heavy


Got to agree with you there...I would never leave any large amount of snow on rv roof...just need a heavy rain to fall and the snow will be as heavy as concrete!


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Posted By: kcmoedoe on 08/27/14 04:42pm

Another red flag is that the insurance company probably doesn't get many Snow related claims in August. That would float a claim to the top of the "this needs further investigation" pile.


Posted By: kd460 on 08/27/14 05:38pm

Trying to respond to all the posts, sorry, I work full time and just got home from work and discovered two more pages of posts. Thanks for the information/conversation.

Also had a interesting twist today. I also have an appointment with a lawyer on Tuesday for this issue.

The original complaint to my insurance company was placed by me in May. The insurance company contacted the independent inspector June 24th. The inspector checked out the Camper July 9th and mailed his information to the insurance company on 7/23.

I contacted insurance company the first few days of august, and was told they needed to "go over the information" and would call me back. I went on vacation, never received any type of contact via phone or mail, so called them this past Thursday. A couple of days of phone tag and we are now here.

I had a lengthy talk with the independent inspector today, and he was surprised. He then emailed me a copy of the document he sent to the insurance company, gave me the dates he was contacted and inspected it. I specifically asked him if there was any signs of water damage. His reply was "no water damage, I am surprised that there is no water damage, and I have denied a lot of them this year for water damage, but yours does not have water damage".

He even reaffirmed that there is an obvious depression in the roof visible from the outside, as well as the sagging of the entire roof section on the inside (contradicts what the insurance company told me). The interior panels are still attached to the underlying structure. It is the structure that is moving.

Yes, I can move the whole thing up and down roof and all with my hands.

Getting back to the appraiser, he was very specific about the water, and was very specific that this was from the weight of the snow.

BTW, my brothers camper, my brother in laws camper, my fathers camper, and my uncles camper all sat in the same area (50 feet away)with no damage, and my dads camper was made in 1967! Not sure what that means, but is an observation I will point out.

So do things break or fail and people file a claim with their insurance company and the insurance company fixes it? I think that's what insurance is for?

Does an insurance company send out an independent agent/appraiser to inspect the camper, then he authorizes the repair, but the insurance company over rides that and "invents" some BS about water damage, is that ethical? I think thats a blatant attempt to avoid payment despite the inspectors findings? What did they hire him for in the first place?

The attorney I spoke with today told me to not talk with the insurance company and to get a copy of my policy, and we will meet on Tuesday. Not gonna mention the insurance companies name till I speak with the attorney. Put yourself in my shoes. I have never needed a lawyer except for routine real estate, etc. so this is all new ground for me. KD


Posted By: NJRVer on 08/27/14 06:48pm

First contacted in May and here we are in August with no resolution.

Inexcusable foot dragging.
Can't wait to find out what company this is.


Posted By: sacmarata on 08/28/14 10:35am

NJRVer wrote:

First contacted in May and here we are in August with no resolution.

Inexcusable foot dragging.
Can't wait to find out what company this is.


Amen to that! What if it was his residence?

Sure seems like something I would call my state attorney generals office of consumer advocacy about. It's worked for me in the past with a previous insurer.


Posted By: bodyshop bob on 08/28/14 12:12pm

State insurance laws vary a lot from state to state but the principle underlying insurance is typically the same. That being said a recognized "principle" for a covered loss is "sudden and accidental". Did one snow event cause the loss or a build up of snow over the winter? If you can't pin down a general day or couple of days, was this "sudden"? Doesn't sound like it.
2. Independent Appraisers are Independent. They do not get to say what is covered and what isn't. They are appraisers hired by the insurance company and they do not get to speak for the insurance company.
3. I noticed a lot of anger/bitterness/resentment toward insurance companines in the comments. If you dislike your insurace company then change insurance companies. Insurance claim reps are held to a percentage of claims closed within 7 or 10 days. Their raises and bonuses are dependent on hitting this goal. For a claim to go this long really means something is preventing the claim from processing normally. A claim rep wants to pay your claim. Quickly. But if something isn't right they can't.
4. Everyone wants to hire a lawyer. In trying to close a Property Damage situation its usually not the smartest move. For Bodily Injury claims or Tort claims lawyers are fine. Look up Public Adjusters. Talk to one. Explain exactly what happened and ask for advice. Call the Insurance company. Ask to speak to the local Claims manager. Be nice and explain that you would like them to review the file and make a decision. Ask what else can I show or provide that would assist you in making a decision? Ask, politely, what has held up the determination of coverage?
Good luck with your claim.
BC


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Posted By: 2oldman on 08/28/14 12:18pm

RV daytrader wrote:

.I would never leave any large amount of snow on rv roof...
or store it 150 miles away. Good luck with your claim.

* This post was edited 08/28/14 12:37pm by 2oldman *


Posted By: JJBIRISH on 08/28/14 03:30pm

Well not to be smart or anything but when most posters ask about snow load on the forum here, most of the answers go something like you have never seen a dealer remove the snow have you… don’t worry about it…

Of course they aren’t here to assist in the repair when it happens… [emoticon]

I think your problem is this was not a snow event but a accumulation of snow and rain and ice over a period of time, and not one snow event… your lack of knowledge of when the damage occurred supports their denial in that respect…


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Posted By: Harvey51 on 08/31/14 08:57am

Sometimes I wonder if insurance is worth it. Sure, we must have liability coverage on vehicles and fire on homes but is all the rest of it worth bothering with? It costs a lot over the years and then if you make a claim the premium gores up until you pretty much pay of the claim. I want insurance against disaster, not things like flooding in the basement, a dent in the car, cracked windshield, etc.


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Posted By: mobeewan on 08/31/14 09:27pm

NJRVer wrote:

Water-Bug wrote:

I had snow damage to the roof of a stick built house, here in Michigan, last winter. Insurance company pointed me to a fine print clause in the policy that said weather damage must be the result of a named storm. Ever hear of a named snow storm or tornado? Total BS.




You obviously don't watch The Weather Channel.
They name all the storms now.
Do a "history" search for the storm on Weather.com and give the insurance company whatever they named it.


This is something the Weather Channel started doing and is not an "Official" Govt naming like tropical cyclones. It probably doesn't count for insurance.

IF anyone is interest I called the thunder storm here the other day Bertha.

* This post was edited 09/09/14 04:09am by mobeewan *


Posted By: kd460 on 10/09/14 03:17pm

Just a quick update:

After consulting with an attorney and then hiring him for a very reasonable flat rate, the insurance company did a 180. It took this long, and lots of back and forth, but they have finally agreed to payment.

The attorney has experience dealing with insurance companies, and I really feel he did a good job demonstrating to the insurance company that payment of the claim would be in their best interests.

I did not have to have the Sealtech pressure test, which to me was kind of stupid anyways. What came first the chicken or the egg?

They will be paying the claim minus some money for "betterment". Which from what I understand is fairly common in the insurance industry. However, I will be dropping this insurance company once the issue is resolved (if they don't cancel me first [emoticon]). KD


Posted By: Raymon on 10/09/14 04:47pm

RV daytrader wrote:

newman fulltimer wrote:

my question is why didnt you clean the snow off before it got that heavy


Got to agree with you there...I would never leave any large amount of snow on rv roof...just need a heavy rain to fall and the snow will be as heavy as concrete!


So now you blame the owner; it was all his fault. Just maybe he was gone for an extended time? Maybe there were other reasons he was not able to have the snow removed?

I agree with removing the snow. If I was not physically able to do it myself, I would hire someone to do it if I could find someone willing to do it.

Ray


Posted By: keymastr on 10/10/14 10:18am

If I lived where lots of snow was a regular occurrence I would either build a carport or pay for winter storage, but glad the insurance stepped up for you. I am sure you will do things differently now. Even a smaller amount of snow can do amazing damage if it gets rained on. Very heavy.


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