Insurance - who do the slum lords use? - Posted by Tracey
Posted by Tracey on December 01, 2005 at 15:13:52:
We’ve got 7 properties insured with American Family and we don’t want to be part of the “family” anymore. We’ve been using them for about 5 years, we’ve got multiple policies and they are raping us cost wise, and nit-picking me to death about incidental crap that makes no sense. Long story short, I don’t think they want to insure 2 of the properties for whatever reason, so they tell me something needs to be addressed, then when I fix it they come up with something else. Our agent has lied to the company about various things in order to make the policy more attractive and get a commission. We’ve made attempts to move the policies, but when agents or brokers hear that even though we’ve replaced fuse boxes with breaker boxes, ran new wiring to key areas such as (stove,refrigerator, microwave, computer areas) and “lightened the load” on individual areas by adding more breakers, and removing all visible and reachable knob&tube wiring, but we didn’t gut the entire interior to replace un-touched knob&tube inside the walls - they won’t write a policy. Our houses are in 100X better shape than we we bought them and somebody had insurance on them in their pitiful state of disrepair for years before we bought them. I look around and all over town, there are run-down little rental houses, and old nasty looking houses divided into 3,4, and 5 apartments that I know for an absolute fact the owners have not addressed electrical issues as well as other safety concerns - but they are insured - one guy just had one of his burn to the ground, and he’s got 50-something more scattered all over town in just as bad of shape and multiple families crammed into most of them. Who do the slum lords use? If they can get insurance on that kind of crap I surely can get a reasonable policy on nice rehabbed houses. I’ve started asking around with no result. State Farm Insurance won’t touch a house with any amount of knob&tube, I question whether our company was lied to about it by our agent. But there are hundreds of houses all over town and they’ve been bought&sold several times over the past 5-10 years and I’m trying to find out who the buyers are getting to insure them.
Our agent just notified us 4 days before they were going to cancel the policies on these 2 houses so we’d be in a pinch and have to buy this 3 month (3 times the cost) policy he offered because he knew we couldn’t find coverage anywhere with short notice - he might have a good Christmas on us this year, but as soon as I can find reasonable coverage EVERY one of those policies is gone!
We bought another place a year ago, a historical duplex completely rehabbed. He wrote the policy, it was for more than we paid for the place, 8 months later we get a cancellation notice from American Family stating that they didn’t think we had enough coverage and to continue we had to pay more - THEY just wrote the policy 8 months prior!! why didn’t they write it correctly? And isn’t having it insured for cash payoff of more than we paid sufficient? It is solid masonry, built in 20’s, you couldn’t get the darn thing rebuilt like it was if you wanted to, and it’s still not even covered if we have an earthquake!
Anybody got any ideas? We’ve tried agents and brokers no luck. Do we just not mention Knob&tube? That doesn’t seem right. 1 house has had 90% of all old wiring taken out, but I WILL NOT rip out walls just to replace untouched wiring when there has been no problems and I’ve taken every other possible measure replacing all reachable wiring, adding more lines and breakers to take stress off possible “overloaded” old lines.
Now they don’t like that a little out building on one of the properties I’m rehabbing has flaking paint. Flaking paint? When I get the more important issues addressed I plan to side it with vinyl, it’s not going to cause injury, I’d tear the darn thing down before I ever embarrassed myself by making a claim on it, and they’d never pay if we made a claim on it I can bet on that. Help!