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Home Insurence Saga

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  • Home Insurence Saga

    Bought house: march, 2003
    Moved into house: June 1, 2003
    policy type: homeowners comprehensive

    On March 2006 I've noticed significant cracks on my walls as well as some debris from the ceiling (some powder, nothing significant). I've just returned from holidays, and I thought it was related to the final demolition of the arena at polo park which took place while I was away (I live just across the river, one block down).

    So I called my insurance company to see if they can send someone to check it out and advice whether it is covered within the policy. The adjuster they have sent explained that the cracking in the walls are a result of normal movement within the building and the foundation, something that is especially common in the area I am living at. He therefore explained that there is no merit for a claim, so I assumed I am not opening anything. I was just seeking advice, but I've later learned the insurance company registered this visit as a claim.

    The adjuster suggested that I seek professional advice from a foundation engineer who may be able to sketch a long term plan to solve the ongoing issues of cracking.

    I have followed his advice, and on Apr. 11 a structural Engineer inspected my foundation and my property. It is clear from his detailed report that even though my foundation has issues, those are common and normal to the area and are within the acceptable range. In his report he says: "The cracking within the foundation wall does not pose a structural concern at present".

    A few weeks ago I received from my insurance company a registered letter notifying me about the non renewal of my insurance due to "severe deterioration of the dwelling foundation." This would take effect Nov. 9.

    I have argued that they have wrongly labelled my house as a structural disaster ("severe deterioration of the dwelling foundation.") even though I have provided then with proven reports than in fact my foundation is in solid condition.

    As a result, I was declined coverage by almost every company I have approached, and those who have agreed to offer coverage insisted I had to pay a premium due to my claim`history' and `high risk' factor. All this sounds extremely unfair to me.

    I have approached a local lawyer who advised me against suing. Apparently, this particular insurance company and many others are operating within the ambiguity of the current laws. Extremely unfair and unjust - yes, but unfortunately - not illegal under the current legislative.

    According to him, it is at the administrative level of the insurance company that they can make an 'educated' decision about the condition/risk of a customers property. An adjuster's recommendation or file submitted by a professional engineer is a matter of an opinion to them. The Law, as it is today, will still protect the company's right to make whatever decision they will, even at the cost of an unjust labelling of the customers property.
    If this is true, This is very unfortunate.

    Are there any legal options available to me? Do I have merit for suing for libel?

    Thank you so much for your time
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