I read these words in my email last week:
“…we have settled this claim in full with _________.” The rest went on to discuss attorney’s fees and public adjuster’s fees and other legalities.
So, we've settled our claim against our insurance company.
We were told that the insurance company felt they had given us quite a gift with the payout of our total claim. Forgive me if I didn't squeal with delight when I untangled the bow.
If you've recently happened upon this little blog and haven’t followed the story from the beginning, it goes something like this:
Our home caught fire September 21, 2011. Our home was a total loss, but since it didn't burn to the ground, the insurance company didn't deem it a total loss on day one. No, instead we got to bicker about every window frame, every smoky tuft of insulation, and the smell and condition of every piece of sheetrock. We quibbled over fireplace structure and delaminating roof decking and hopelessly debris-clogged plumbing. We argued extensively over thousands of photos and thousands of line items on spreadsheets. We drifted into the twilight zone as we debated with insurance company representatives months and years after the incident whether or not a pumper truck of water had made its way to our basement damaging items there.
It’s been a long and exhausting battle; a very tedious battle. In the end, we settled up for about $120k less than we had hoped. Let me be clear about what we were hoping for- we were hoping that after paying the attorney’s fees and public adjuster’s fees to fight for what was rightfully owed to us, and paying off contractors that we still owe, that we would walk away with enough money to complete the construction on the house. It isn't what we hoped and it took three years and eight months to accomplish. They feel as if they've given us a great gift. I feel like we've walked away from a no holds-barred fight, beaten and exhausted.
One thing is certain though. It is OVER. For three years and eight months, we've asked ourselves almost daily “where are we with the insurance company?” Every day we have taken stock of what the next step is. Who do we need to call, what documentation are they waiting on, what bid is not in yet, have we heard back from the attorney, etc. We have stored boxes and boxes of receipts. We've kept a storage shed of items that were too damaged or smoky to bring back into the house as evidence that the insurance company could peruse at their leisure. We have extensive files in shared folders in Google Drive. We've lived in limbo, always waiting for the next request or the next email.
Finally, it is over. We can empty that storage shed and save ourselves the monthly fee. We can throw out the receipts. We can clear the files. We eliminate the daily work and worry from our lives of battling this claim. We have gained some serious closure. We can close this chapter of our lives and dedicate all of that energy to happier pursuits with our kids.
We’re happily closing this chapter of the fire story. It is what it is and it is over. (And that is actually a gift.)