Renters insurance company denied claim

9 Replies

The property has a unfinished basement made of 100 year old concrete. In Vancouver WA you may know or suspect that we get a fair amount of rain. Well she left all the windows closed so the added moisture from the rain with no air flow caused mold/mildew to cover her stuff for the same reasons attics have soffits. Also, she had a lot of stuff crammed in there. All the way to the ceiling. 

 Previous tenants never had any issues but they had at least one window open and never had that much stuff in there. 

Stuff happens and that's why I require renters insurance which she has. But her company has rejected her claim and told her it should be on my insurance. She got a quote to clean her stuff: $2k. She can't use the furnace until it's resolved. 

I told her to figure out what wesel clause they are claiming and fight it. Tomorrow I am going to give her a notice to mitigate the issue within 10 days or I will at her expense as stipulated in the lease. I suspect she doesn't have the means to fix it and feel for her because I have been screwed by insurance companies too. 

That's all the information I have at this time. Any thoughts or recommendations are greatly appreciated. 

Hi Joe.

Diid you talk to your insurance agent? Your local guy will know what is covered and what is excluded. These coverages vary form and state.

It sounds like you may be liable since it was an existing problem that you did not remedy by addressing the cause (repairing or sealing the foundation) or lessening the effect (vents or fans).

If neither insurance company will cover the repairs, try to work with the renter to see if she will cover half the cost. Might keep you out of court and solve the problem much quicker.

Eddie

I'd call my insurance and file through them and subrogate the issue and let your insurance company pursue the claim to the other insurance company

@Eddie Memphis and @Sean Webb ,

Wanted to give you and others researching an update.  I spoke to my insurance company and they confirmed that all renters insurance they knew of exuded mold/mildew damage.  I was floored.  Hope someone reads this and accounts for it before it becomes a problem for them.

As far as Washington State concerns, since I have made attempts remove the water source then I am good.  I transposed a gutter spout away from the outdoor entrance to the basement where the visible moisture was entering.  I french drained the runoff to graded ground to further remove the water from the property.  I also installed a dehumidifier.  

I have had tenants in that house for over 5 years and never had this issue because they allowed air flow and didn't store boxes to the ceiling.  Unfinished basements get moist but with proper air flow, mold/mildew has never appeared.  Once the tenant buttoned it up, mold/mildew appeared.  Going forward I am going to require proper ventilation in the basement and check monthly.  If the basement was finished living space, I would spend the dough to seal out the moisture externally and install a sump.

@Joe Mercer

I do not believe the insurance company is correct about it being excluded. I have read multiple policies and have seen it never mention mold as an exclusion. Why not just ask your tenant for her policy and look to verify? Do you not have your tenants name you as an interested party on the policy? If they do you should have the ability to just call and ask

@Sean Webb ,

I agree.  It seems ludicrous.  However, she has not provided me with a policy so I suspect there is a possibility she doesn't have rental insurance which is a lease violation.  I do not have the tenants name as an interested party.  My policy covers the structure/liability.  Tenants policy covers there property.  Not very well in this case.

Yes but being named as a interested party also makes the insurance company have to deal with you. If the policy is canceled or past due they notify you. Also in certain scenarios the policy will have to extend covered to you and cover your legal cost

@Sean Webb ,

I see.  I misinterpreted your earlier post.  I thought you meant have the tenant as an interested party on the my policy.  I will definitely do this in the future.  Thanks for the tip.

@Joe Mercer I hope you were able to solve your issue with this tenant. I went through a similar situation  recently and the best thing I did was to hire a PA. He took care of everything, negotiated with the tenant's insurance and my insurance as well. In the end, I was able to fix the problem and did not have to pay a penny out of my pocket. 

@Denisse Mendez Water under the bridge now.  What is a "PA"?  Thank you for your concern.

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