Saturday 9th of June 2018 02:20:59 PM
We had water damage in the master bath when a shower arm broke. It broke because I adjusted the nozzle to make the water force lighter. UPSTAIRS DAMAGE: The damage was in the master bath shower wall, the master bedroom wall, carpets. And the damage went down one wall and across another wall. DOWNSTAIRS DAMAGE: The ceilings and 4 walls directly below the water damage above, a built in floor-to-ceiling wood pantry, the pantry doors, the adjoining walls around the pantry and wood flooring and baseboards. The adjacent bathroom 3 more walls and ceilings and alcove tiles.We contacted a local water damage company, Kade, instead of using Mercury's preferred vendor - Servpro. We didn't go with Servpro because they had horrible reviews. The Mercury Insurance inspector came out, did a quick review, left and then came back with a bid that was nowhere near the cost to cover the damages. He would not return phone calls or emails. The Mercury agent refused to use email because he told me: I get 60 emails a day, I can't answer them.THREE INDEPENDENT BIDS: Everything was done on Mercury's terms. They wanted to wear me out. He processed the claim and came back with zero additional funds. In other words, the total cost would not exceed the deductible. The 3 independent contractors came in between $25,000 to $30,000 of additional damages. For example, Mercury said we could just dry out the carpet upstairs and replace a PORTION of the carpet in the master bedroom. And leave the other existing. Over half the carpet was damaged in there yet they we were supposed to 'cut and paste' some new vs. old. There is no way that carpet would match, let alone be safe.I know our house very well. One, we've lived in it 37 years. We've remodeled it twice. The second remodel was the 2nd story. We remodeled our house and I worked directly with the architect that took my plans and put them into a rendering. When the Mercury inspector came out, he spent about 30 minutes, if that inspecting our house. Made a quick lap around the house, then BAM, out the door. Then he went back and submitted the claim and came back with his analysis. Our deductible would not be met - based on HIS estimated. He was not using CALIFORNIA LABOR RATES for the subs we need to hire.There is no way. Materials and labor are higher in CA. We got (3) separate bids like we always do for our work at our building or home. Our independent bids exceed Mercury's by $20,000 to $30,000 for total cost (including deductible). For example, there is no way to rebuild a floor to ceiling solid wood pantry, paint it and replace necessary hardware using California licensed labor. Yet the Mercury bid came in less than $500. I dare any California homeowner to find a licensed contractor with great skills to do that kind of work.I contacted the supervisor of our inspector at Mercury and he ignored me. Then I contacted the Department of Insurance and they agreed with Mercury. Yet, the rep from the Department of Insurance had NEVER reviewed my case the first time. I know that, because I contacted him again and asked to reopen the claim. The same Dept. of Insurance rep asked me to send him the same documents again because he wasn't aware of some info. I told him the info was in there. He finally admitted that he had not reviewed them in depth. I also submitted the 3 bids for the damages as well as extensive photographs to the Dept. of Insurance. Apparently, The Department of Insurance suggested that Mercury come back out one more time. It took NINE MONTHS before Mercury sent out the agent again.And guess what they did? The same inspector made a nominal additional payment in order to exceed my deductible. In other words, they would increase my premiums (penalizing) me for going to the Department of Insurance. And pay in excess of the deductible - but just enough to get us off their backs. Not based on the actual cost of the damages. I was advised to contact a lawyer. But why should I have to? The terms of the policy were not met. Mercury dragged its feet - for almost a year. They evaluated the claim again, only at the request of the Department of Insurance.The second time the inspector came out, he brought his own Mercury contractor. We were all together in the upstairs master bedroom and bathroom same as they inspected the house. But when they came back down, they did not follow us into the kitchen meeting area where we started. Instead, they were having a pow wow down the hall and out of view. After a few minutes, I finally went back to find them WHISPERING. I asked why they needed to whisper and have a private meeting. They got a bit rattled and joined us.After one year of hassles, the same adjuster said he would resubmit the claim. Even though he was no longer an adjuster. He told me with a smug look: I got promoted. Yep, Mercury promotes those adjusters that drag their feet and get claims lowballed or denied. That's job security for Mercury. Forget about the terms of the policy and the actual damages. We ended up getting addition payment of just under $3000 for our initial claim. That's $20,000-$25,000 less than the repair estimates we got.Of course our premiums went up: Just over $3,000. So, we were penalized for reopening the claim. Yet our contractors came in with bids well over Mercury's definition of damages. As a final disclaimer: My husband and I own a life and health insurance agency. We do know about insurance. Not, we're not experts in homeowner's insurance but oftentimes, we hear the horror stories of underpaid homeowner's claims.And finally: the reason why we were so adamant about our claim with Mercury. It wasn't the first time we had damages with them. Just the year before, we had water damage from the upstairs second bathroom. It was Christmastime and the water went down the wall of a downstairs bedroom. We called Mercury and an inspector name Matt came out. He taped off the area he said was damaged and marked it with orange tape, if I recall. It was taped off. Based on his assessment. He estimated the damages to be under $500. Well, turns out the damages were $1,500.00.A week later, we had guests visiting from Thailand. Half of the closet wall and the adjoining ceiling collapsed. Yep. Fortunately the drywall didn't hit them. We had (3) contractors come out and bid to replace the drywall and paint. The bid came in less than our deductible. That's why we have been so prudent. Mercury lowballed the SCOPE on the first claim. And they did it again on the second claim.Our deductible was and is: $5,000. When we contacted our agent who sold us the policy for the second claim. The agent OWNS a huge casualty agency. We have mutual insurance related friends. But we've known him for years so he oversaw both claims enough to be dangerous. He said, "Why did you guys get a $5,000 deductible?" We reminded him that he suggested the high deductible. We have plenty of photos that we've taken at the time of the damage as well as the work in progress.