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A Consumer Reports survey in 2016 of more than 7,400 subscribers who filed a homeowners insurance claim in the previous three years found that the bigger the losses, the more hassles homeowners encountered throughout the claim process. About 31 percent of claimants with losses of $30,000 or more ran into at least one problem, including disagreements over damages, disputes about coverage, delays, and slow payout, our data found, vs. only 20 percent of filers with claims below that threshold.
Justin Rubins, who said he preferred not to name his insurance company, ran into the same trouble. The insurer cited the policy's flood exclusion and denied the claim. But the retired insurance man remembered his harrowing experience in the basement and countered that the water rising from the laundry sink happened first and that it was caused by a sewer backup, for which he had an endorsement.
"I knew there was no way they could prove where the water came from first, and I was down there and saw it come up from the sink originally," Justin said. "I didn't lose my temper. I just laid out the facts." The insurer changed its standard position and sent the Rubins a check for $5,000, the endorsement limit. The company also paid $1,400 for the loss of a quarter of the house's shingles under the wind coverage portion of the policy.
That brought the Rubins' recovery total to $26,300, about one-third of their losses.