i have water damage from a improper installation of a air conditioning unit and my homeowers will not pay what ccan i do

i did not own the home when the unit was installed in 1996 we have also recently redid our loan (fha) and borrowed extra money to put a garage in and install a outside wood stove the people who put the store in found all the damage and now i have a 900.00 house payment and a house not worth over 20000 and my insurance denied the claim is there anything i can do

Asked on June 15, 2009 under Real Estate Law, Missouri

Answers:

Sean C Santoro / Santoro Traffic Law Office

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

Sean Santoro

Attorney at Law

Licensed in KS and MO

    Have you read your insurance policy to verify the denial of coverage? Did you have the home inspected by a professional before purchase? You may have little recourse, after all this time, unless we can get the insuror to reverse its decision. If you need me to review your policy, feel free to email me at sean@roadlawyer.net or call me at 913 441 5025.

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

You should not give up immediately on the insurance claim--read your policy for yourself, and if it looks like the insurer should pay (that you are covered), resubmit or appeal the claim; if necessary, and if yoiui think you're in the right, you could even file a complaint with your state's division of insurance.

However, if you can't get your insurer to pay, you may have very little recourse. It's almost impossible to go and sue for work done on a home by a contractor before you owned it for many reasons--you weren't the ones who contracted with the contractor; you bought the home, which means that accepted the home in the condition it was when you closed; etc. Also, if the work was done in '96, that's almost certainly past an statute of limitations for suing.

Possibly, if you had a home inspector and the damage was something that he/she really should have noticed, you might be able to sue him or her for negligence (basically, "malpractice")--if they'd found the damage, you'd have had the opportunity to negotiate the price down and/or get the seller to make repairs. But that would only fly if the damage was something that should have been completely obvious to an inspector, so you can make the case he/she took your money w/out doing the job. If the damange was inside a wall, say, and not obvious or accessible, then there's no way to hold the inspector liable.


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