ERIE gives homeowners insurance companies a bad name!
ERIE, PENNSYLVANIA -- Background: I have been a policyholder of Erie Insurance since I bought my Virginia home in 2004. We left Virginia last year to move to Texas. The house is for sale, but empty (which means we have been carrying two mortgages for a year).
Rain Damage: In May, there were torrential downpours. Apparently, the gutter came loose from the downspout and water came into the basement stairway and entered under the basement door. We had inches of standing water throughout the basement that the realtor found when she was showing the home.
Problem: Erie is refusing the pay the claim calling it "groundwater" and saying that it is an exclusion the same as a flood (but even if we had flood insurance they say this wouldn't be covered). They say that as soon as water touches the ground it becomes groundwater. It was more like "roof water" that would have been diverted to the city sewer system. An ordinary person would consider groundwater some kind of standing water--the house sits on a hill so water is not standing anywhere nearby.
Anyway, they have tied up the claim with their review for 6 weeks so far and are now trying to deny the claim. One supervisor actually claimed that it is "company policy" to deny this type of claim and that several similar policyholders have had their claims denied. (Can you say class action??? Any hungry lawyers out there???)
No reasonable policyholder would read that this kind of damage would not be covered under the policy. This is why insurance companies get a bad name. Apparently the reason their fiscal index rating is so high is because they don't pay claims, they just collect premiums.
Current Status: We are fighting hard and it looks like another executive is going to "review the file." I think this is just terminology for making us wait longer. What they don't know yet is that we have a pending sale if the insurance goes through. If it doesn't I may be taking them to court not only for the damages they should cover, but try for loss of sale as well!