• Insurance Carrier: Auto Owners Insurance
  • State: MS

Consumer Complaint:

Our home, an older historic Victorian, was extensively damaged by vandals in April, 2008, while we were in California visiting our daughter. We have insurance for $100,000 for fire and vandalism with Auto Owners Insurance. Contractors’ bids show damage at over $65,000 to windows, walls, floors, ceilings, wiring, plumbing, heating, etc. We had an appraisal done in 2005 when we applied for a loan for home improvements which valued the house. Auto Owners hired the same appraiser to examine the house in its present condition and is basing the payment on this. The adjuster has offered a payoff of less than half the estimated damage minus $1,000 deductable for \”each incident\” and she suggests there could have been as many as 30 incidents if we don’t accept her offer. My wife and I are elderly, we are not in good health, and we almost destitute and homeless.

Insurance Expert Answer:

The adjuster's actions, and his total lack of any basis in fact to assert there were 30 separate incidents, is outrageous. (Indeed, by his logic, I'm surprised he did not suggest there were not only 30 incidents, one for each day, but 30 x 24 -- as if a new set of vandals came in every hour, every day and night, and thus suggest YOU might have to pay the insurance company for the damage to your home.) I hope you have been documenting EVERY contact you have had with the insurance company and the adjuster -- date, time, who you spoke to, what each said. If not, start now and also try to remember everything that happened and put it down. A Public Adjuster is probably your best bet, as they know how the companies play their games. I will (as you requested) also send this to a leading insurance law firm, and if they have any interest they will contact you (but I don't think they will as at this stage it's too early -- and there is too much deniability). A letter from a local lawyer to the CEO or General Counsel of Auto-Owners might also get things moving in the right direction. You may also want to complain to the Mississippi Insurance Department.