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Law Educator, Esq.
Law Educator, Esq., Lawyer
Category: Real Estate Law
Satisfied Customers: 118209
Experience:  Licensed attorney practicing landlord-tenant, land use and other real estate law and litigation.
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My house flood second time in Feb. 2015. The restoration

Customer Question

My house flood for a second time in Feb. 2015. The restoration company said there wasn’t mold in the house. The contractor hired by USAA and I saw mold. The contractor said he would not come back until the mold was gone.
I posted to USAA that I was getting sick from the mold and they posted back that they were sorry to hear that, but I need to call my contractor. I posted back that the contractor they ok’ for the job will not come in the house until the mold is gone. April 2015 I hired a different restoration company to test for mold and there was a lot of mold in the house. 1st restoration company said that there wasn’t mold and the 2nd restoration company just wanted to make money off me. I posted the test and about a month later the 1st restoration company came to the house and found mold. He said they would submit an estimate to USAA. I called USAA and Pam said she would pay the 1st restoration company to remove the mold, but they never submitted an estimate.
I received a letter from USAA stating I was being dropped for failure to make repairs, because they didn’t have paperwork from any company saying there were repairs being made. I wrote and posted that I had asked for a different contractor, but I was told that I had to use the contractor that they had ok’ and he wasn’t coming in the house because of mold. I was trapped on a circle of nothing being done. So I started working on the house myself. There weren’t any invoices because I had to do the work myself. I asked for money to help me pay for the installation.
I complained to USAA because they wanted to drop me for something that was not my fault. USAA Adjuster Cole Butler picked these companies and I was forced to do the work myself because the 1st restoration company wouldn’t submit an estimate and the contractor wouldn’t come in because of the mold. I can understand the contractor, but not the 1st restoration company. I also let them know that I was going to report this mess to WAVY 10 on Your Side. The next day the restoration company supervisors shows up to my house, and informed me that I had to take my belongings back by Monday. When I asked why, he said that USAA wasn’t going to pay the $35,000 storage fee and I would have to pay the bill. I told them that I couldn’t take the furniture back because my floors were down and I didn’t have $35.000. They said they would deliver my things to a storage unit on my side of town where the cost would be cheaper. He also said that they would not deliver the items to my home. I called Sam, not my 2013 adjuster, because it normally took a long time to reach Pam or for her to reply. Sam called me back and said USAA would pay for the storage unit for the year, but I had to be responsible for the other payments which was $320 a month. I told Sam that they were over charging and she said that my things were from floor to ceiling. I asked if she could go with me to the unit and she couldn’t.
A week later I received a letter from USAA stating they were dropping me because I hadn’t replied to their letters. I wrote them back and told them I did write them and I even posted the letters. A month later I received another letter saying I was being dropped because my kitchen and bathroom floors weren’t down.
The 1st restoration company called me weeks later and told me I had to take possession of my things and sign over the $35,000 check. I had requested my kitchen and bathroom items to be delivered. They brought over some of the kitchen cabinets and some of the bathrooms. When I wouldn’t sign the check I was told that they would have to increase the payments to $520. I called Pam and told her that I couldn’t afford that payment; she called and told me to take back my things, sign over the check and it wasn’t my business how much she paid the 1st restoration company for cleaning my things. The 1st restoration company was paid $8000 for cleaning my things, but they would not clean anything because they only clean items that suffered from smoke damage, so I clean my things myself.
A week later I received a letter from USAA saying they were dropping me because I had too much stuff in my house and good luck finding another insurance company. They were right, either I was rejected or the insurance cost were so high I couldn’t afford it. So I wrote the Insurance Bureau and told them what was happening and that I had reply to USAA and posted the letters on their web site. Two weeks after that I received a letter saying that my insurance would not be canceled, but USAA wanted to do an inspection of my house and property to adjust my bill. It didn’t make since because there wasn’t a kitchen, half the master bathroom was missing. ADT disconnect my phone lines so that I would have to pay for wireless connection which was a lot me; so my alarm system was gone. The house isn’t worth much.
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Real Estate Law
Expert:  Law Educator, Esq. replied 1 year ago.
Thank you for your question. I look forward to working with you to provide you the information you are seeking for educational purposes only.
At this point, you have a breach of contract claim against USAA as well as unfair and deceptive practices for them not properly handling the claim. So your first step to try to resolve this is filing a complaint with your state insurance commissioner for them not resolving or handling your claim in good faith. If the insurance commissioner cannot resolve this issue, at that point you would have grounds to seek a local attorney to sue them for breach of contract in bad faith as well as unfair and deceptive business practices, which would allow you to seek up to triple damages plus your attorney's fees for having to sue them for their refusal to properly handle your claim.