‘Tis the season of frozen pipes – and a good time to revisit an SMW homeowner water loss from Falmouth, MA. While the homeowners were wintering in Florida, they received the unpleasant news that water was pouring out of the front door of their Cape Cod home. The basement had filled with over six feet of water. The news was puzzling as they kept their house heated to prevent the pipes from freezing, and a local real estate agent had visited the house, which was up for sale.
A restoration company was hired to tear everything out and they discovered mold everywhere. They handed the homeowners a bill for $20,000. The insurance company refused to cover it, saying that they had not exercised “reasonable care to maintain heat in the home.”
Uncovering the true cause of the flood required detective work on the part of SMW. The home was heated with gas, so running out of oil was ruled out. The home’s thermometer was set at 55 degrees, which had been checked three times by the real estate agent and seemed to be working properly.
After some research, SMW discovered that the gas meter had been replaced in March. Around the same time, typically low bills spiked, which didn’t make sense as usage was constant. Based upon the evidence and SMW’s extensive knowledge of heating and plumbing systems, SMW concluded that a faulty gas meter may have caused the heating system to freeze. As the water was shut off, the problem did not become apparent until June when the real estate agent turned the water back on.
SMW presented a viable scenario to the homeowner’s insurance company of how the loss may have occurred. The insurer, who did not take the time or resources to thoroughly investigate the claim, finally agreed that the loss was no fault of the homeowners.
Over the course of 10 months, SMW was able to reverse the insurer’s opinion. The insured went from owing a restoration company $20,000 to obtaining a $120,000 settlement for their building and personal property claims. The homeowners, who were thrilled with the result, were able to restore their home and put it back on the market in even better shape than prior to the flood. Through hard work and perseverance – and a little detective work – SMW resolved a difficult claim.