Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Dancing with our Insurance company to the song "I dream of a beautiful kitchen"

(To the tune of White Christmas)
I'm dreaming of beautiful kitchen! Just like the one I used to know!
Where the memories of loved ones laughing
and the lips of my children smacking!
Just to taste the recipes that they know!

Six weeks of a journey unlike the one I had in my head.
Six weeks of trying my patience....or what's left of it.
Six weeks of teaching me to stand my ground.
Six weeks of stretching me beyond what I would say necessary. Stretch Armstrong is eating my dust!

Let me back up a few months....

Back in March I began to notice our dishwasher leaking. Thinking it was coming from the door when we would open it...I run on average two loads a day. Also, we were pushing about 5-6 years on this help mate of mine. Not bad for a family of 11!  Anyways...I would just wipe it up and use this as an opportunity to mop the surrounding floor. Not realizing what was happening in the back part of the cabinet.

We decided to retire our faithful companion and up grade to a nice shiny model! The day of the switch out we made a discovery...A soaking wet cabinet! Let's just say particle board box cabinets don't repel water to well!  That man of mine made an immediate repair to the line and we kept the dishwasher pulled out so as to allow the cabinet to dry. In the mean time I made the call to our insurance agent. Our faithful insurance company SF,we have had for 30 years. In thirty years this would only be our second claim ever! Six cars, Two houses and a boat....Can you say "Faithful Customer?"

The adjuster they sent out showed up several hours before our scheduled time with no warning. He then proceeds to take measurements and barely pulls out the new dishwasher...which is just slid under the counter...so that he can see the damage.  His recommendation....repair the cabinet. The side, the back and the bottom. Really? Repair three sides of a four sided cabinet? A manufactured box cabinet that is basically glued and stapled together? I'm advised that if we get everything pulled out and see there is more damage just let them know. I would just need a recommendation from a contractor. We received the first claim a week later but noticed a mistake which was several thousand to our good. Doing the right thing I made the call to the adjuster! Man I would have loved that new refrigerator he added into the claim! However...he was very thankful at our honesty! So we waited another week for the correction to be made.

So as to not disrupt our kids while they are finishing up the end of the year and testing, I decided to wait until school was out to begin this adventure. Being knee deep in wedding planning, daughter graduating from high school and kids prepping to take CRCT test, This was a wise move. Oh and getting ready for another one to leave the country for a few months. No....My plate is not full!

A wise move because we are now into the sixth week of this demolition of my kitchen that began the first part of June.

This would be the cabinet he wanted us to repair.

I must admit I'm beginning to get use to this rustic floor. I have totally eliminated the chore of mopping. The dining room carpet refuses to stay clean because of the plywood floor debris that get tracked in from the kitchen. So vacuuming may be a thing of the past too!

In order to see the complete damage and prove to the insurance company that the cabinet could NOT be repaired, plumbing had to be disconnected and counter tops removed. So this is what I was suppose to be left with before our friendly insurance company would approve further repairs. Can someone tell me how a family of 9 is suppose to function in a kitchen without a sink? This my friends is why I am thankful I had the good sense to wait until school was out! This was the first part of June.

That sweet man of mine had mercy on me and did a temporary reconnect. The damaged cabinet totally removed and the counter is just resting on the two base cabinets and dishwasher. All this until I can get an accurate cost of cabinet replacement. That was over six weeks ago.

Before I can get estimates for replacement, the claims office needed photos of the damaged cabinet and a letter stating that it could not be repaired. In an effort to get the cabinets replaced I went to an authorized dealer of our cabinets. The owner of this company came out and measured. He was kind enough to write me a general letter to submit. However he included in his letter a few figures to replace cabinets. Along with the photos, I submitted his letter. One week later I had a check for a little over $4200. This was even $350 less than this man's figures. Now, that letter was not an actual itemized estimate. No explanation as to what all he had included into his figures. Realizing that this figure seemed below what it should, I went and received a few other estimates. I received not one but several estimates that were several thousand dollars more! I thought this repair was going to be easy! I have challenged the first cabinet makers letter. I have called this man several times to get a clear answer as to what all he included in his figures. I have yet to get a clear answer from this elderly man. Each time I have to remind him of who I am and he never really gives me an answer to my questions. He has yet to return the insurance company's calls. However, until they can get him to explain, they will not accept another estimate. If I do submit them, they will use his letter to challenge the other estimates.

Today I had a contractor come out for accurate measurements of the kitchen and am proceeding to move full force to get my kitchen back into a safe and working order. My family should not have to continue this dance with our faithful insurance company!

Oh and during all this...we receive a letter dated March 23 ( my second corrected claim is dated March 17th) stating we need to make the necessary repairs and send documentation to our agent by July 13th. This is from the first claim that they only approved the replacement of flooring and repair of the cabinet. All that was on hold until we could get approval for cabinet replacement. Demolition and communication with the claims office began the first part of June. By June 6 we received another letter...they decided to cancel our insurance because they haven't received documentation by the requested time of July13th. I say all this to say, on the claim letter that came with our claim package it says we have up to two years to make the necessary repairs. Of course we aren't going to wait two years! The left hand apparently doesn't know what the right hand is doing! I would have had this all done by now, had the adjuster put the claim in correctly to start with. Instead I have had to jump through hoops and been required to submit request or receipts for any additional work that was needed apart from the original claim. I have yet to even cash the first check they sent us. Our agent did get us an extension. So, it's all up to them whether or not they want to keep us!

Every morning that I walk into our kitchen I feel the stress and frustration, maybe a LOT little anger, well up in me! Until I look up and see right there on the side of the kitchen cabinets, a sweet reminder!
In all things to be thankful!
Hopefully this won't turn into a Christmas adventure!
Where is Jake when you need him?!

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