Disaster Insurance Workshop Presentation September 19, 2017


>>:I’d like to welcome you all
here this evening. My name is Ryan Miller. I’m the Emergency
Management Director for Howard County. This is a great crowd.
So thank you all for coming out. This shows us you all are
the like the cream of the crop to come out on such a nice
night like this. Right? To come out on a beautiful
evening to hear from our friends at the Maryland
Insurance Administration. But you don’t have to look really
far right now around the country and around the world
to see the effects of disaster. We actually, just
about an hour ago, sent off two more members of our office
to go to Florida to help relieve a team that’s been
down there all week in a base of operations, relieving a
team from New York City, actually. So the whole
country, literally, is trying to pitch in right now to do
some of the response and recovery. But this topic here
in Ellicott City is a very relevant topic as well. We’ve
got some friends here who have personally gone through
disaster here in Ellicott City with the flood last July and
that is one of many hazards we know we face here in Howard
County. Any any of you who’ve looked at our natural hazards
handbook, our hazards “Community Hazard Handbook”
have seen that flooding is one of our top hazards. We’ve
known that, we’ve experienced a lot of flooding – not just
in Ellicott City but around the community. So as as part
of our outreach in our attempts to make sure that our
community has as much information as possible, we
asked for our friends from the Maryland Insurance
Administration to come out tonight. And Joy Hatchette’s
been a good friend of ours for a number of years and I think
you guys are in for a real excellent educational
opportunity. I do want to say that the county executive
Allan Kittleman is unable to be here tonight. He tried to
rearrange some of his schedule to be here, but he’s unable to
be here. And I also wanted to call attention to our
Preparedness Boot Camp. So how many of you have been part of
the preparedness bootcamp so far? Phil? No?>>:Well, I wrote the checks
for the (unintelligible)…>>:OK. Alright. So in
partnership with the Community Emergency Resilience Network,
we’ve been promoting something we’ve called the Preparedness
Boot Camp for the last few weeks. It began the beginning
of September, it’s National Preparedness Month. I told
Amanda that I wanted to come in with a backpack that has
been provided by CERN on my back and a hard hat and a
whistle, but I forgot the backpack and the whistle,
otherwise it was going to do it. But this is a campaign to
try to get people involved. And one of the steps in the
Preparedness Boot Camp – not only building a kit, making a
plan – is to get involved. So you all being here tonight
checks that box. So if you go onto our Facebook page and you
say, I got involved by attending the Maryland
Insurance Administration outreach event, you’ve already
checked one box and you will be able to register to win one
of the prizes provided to us by our friends at the
Community Emergency Resilience Network. So thank you for that
partnership. And please go online check, it out and
interact with us there. All the material that we hand out,
that we present there, has is stuff that we feel pretty
passionate about and have feel like it’s going to be very
valuable to you. So it’s not just stuff that we just hand
out that we got from some other entity but it’s really
material that we feel really strongly about it. So do that
and then maybe try to share it around your offices or on your
schools, around your networks as well. OK. Without further
ado, I’d like to introduce Associate Commissioner at the
Maryland Insurance Administration. Our friend,
Ms. Joy Hatchette. So Joy, thank you very much for coming
tonight.>>:Thank you.>>:[(APPLAUSE)]>>:Good afternoon everyone. My
name is Joy Hatchette – it’s going to be hard. My name is
Joy Hatchette and I work for the state agency known as the
Maryland Insurance Administration. How many of
you are familiar with our state agency? Well for those
of you that are not, we are the state agency that
regulates the insurance industry. We’re the ones that
make sure that the insurance companies comply with all of
Maryland laws. We look at their finances, we look at the
policies that they sell. We look at – and we do market
conduct exams – to make sure all of that is done in
accordance with the laws that the general assembly passes.
And we do it for all types of insurance. Automobile,
homeowners, life insurance, health insurance. So what?
Let’s say you get involved in an automobile accident and
you’re not happy with the way your automobile insurance
company handles your claim. What do most people do? They
go out and they hire an attorney. Have nothing in the
world against attorneys – I’m an attorney. But that attorney
is going to charge you for what work they’re doing for
you. Why not come to the state agency that’ll help you for
free? And then, if we can’t resolve it, then go out and
hire your attorney. After one of these storms, you’ve got
damage to your home. Unhappy with the way the insurance
company handles your claim. State agency that’ll help you
for free. Loved one dies. You need the proceeds of the life
insurance policy to bury the loved one. Insurance companies
dragging their feet. State agency that’ll help you for
free. You go to the doctor, they say you need a particular
medication or course of treatment. Insurance company
says not paying. State agency that’ll help you for free. I
tell people to think of us like the Better Business
Bureau of insurance, but we have the authority to order
insurance companies to pay claims. Because, remember,
we’re the regulator. So tonight I’m going to focus on
disasters, disaster preparedness. We’re going to
talk a little bit about flood insurance but we’re also going
to talk in general about homeowner’s insurance because
anything can be a disaster. It doesn’t have to be a hurricane
or a flood. If you have a major fire, that’s a disaster
to you. So the thing that we try to do is to help you, on
the front end, understand what your policy does and does not
cover so that you are not, for the first time when you have a
claim, trying to figure out what is in this policy. So I
do very informal presentations. So if you have
questions as I go along, raise your hand and let’s try to
address them because, if we wait to the end, you’ll forget
your question and you won’t get answered and you’ll go
away angry and then Ryan will feel disappointed in me. So
let’s just try to make this a learning experience, OK?
Alright. Homeowners insurance. If you have a mortgage, your
mortgage company has required you to have homeowner’s
insurance. Now one of the things that we find is, after
people have paid off that homeowner’s policy, many of
our seniors end up dropping homeowner’s insurance. And I
tell them, well I understand that it’s a way to save money.
But if something bad happens tomorrow – a major fire – how
are you going to rebuild your home if you don’t have
homeowners insurance? Right? So we sort of recognize that,
for the most part, we need it. But the question always is,
how much homeowner’s insurance do we need to have? What’s the
correct amount? And most people, if I ask them, they
would say, well it’s whatever I could sell my house for on
the market. Absolutely not. In your homeowners policy, all
that an insurance company is going to pay you is the amount
to rebuild/replace your home. So if it’s only going to cost
you $300,000 to rebuild your home and on the market you
could get $400,000 for your home. And so you’re thinking,
well I need to get a $400,000 insurance policy. You’re
wasting your money. What you need is the exact amount that
it’s going to cost to rebuild it. So how do I figure that
out? Well – yes, ma’am?>>:Can you also address the
opposite situation when your house is worth a lot less than
they’re saying it costs to rebuild?>>:Absolutely. Her question is
if I can address the opposite end. Because you don’t want to
be over-insured but you also don’t want to be
under-insured. So let’s keep going with what I was talking
about. So if you get $400,000 worth of coverage and it’s
only going to cost you $300,000 to rebuild your home,
the insurance company’s never going to pay you $400,000. So
you have to figure out, how much is it going to cost to
rebuild? Well insurance companies have all these
databases and what they do is they plunk in what is your
home made of? How much square footage? What kind of floors
do you have? What kind of cabinets do you have? They put
all of that stuff into one of their systems and pops out a
number. Now you can do that if you don’t want to have your
insurance company do it for you. But if you do, it it’s
going to cost you money. But in that little yellow book on
the back, it’ll tell you some of the websites that you can
go. But you can definitely do it yourself. Now the lady in
the back had a question about what if she believes her house
is worth less, it would cost less to rebuild. Then that’s a
discussion you need to have with the agent because that’s
all a part of underwriting.>>:It was slightly different.
I might agree with them but it might cost – a historic house
– it might cost that much to rebuild it, but it’s not worth
anywhere near that much on the market.>>:Well, you’re not as worried
about the market – when you’re dealing with your homeowner’s
insurance, you’re worried about the price to rebuild.
But – wait a – but you said something different.
You said it was a historic home. And with historic homes
most insurance companies have another factor because they
can’t, in lots of historic areas – and I’m assuming
that’s the case here in Ellicott City – and actually I
think that’s one of the things that I learned after the flood
– there’s a lot of limitations on what you can and can’t do
when rebuilding a historic home. So there may be reasons
that it’s going to cost a lot more to rebuild but that’s a
discussion that you need to have with your agent or with
the company to make sure you come up with the actual cost
to rebuild your home. Does that answer your question?>>:Yeah. It’s weird if
you’re in that scenario where you have have a house that
they’re saying, let’s say, oh it’s going to cost $500,000
to rebuild, but you know the market price is – maybe
it’s $200,000 – can you walk away from the house if it’s just completely demolished?>>:With insurance companies, this is how – and we’re going to
talk about this a little bit with personal property –
they’re only going to give you replacement cost if you
actually replace it. So if they say the value of your
home is it’s depreciated and it’s only worth $100,000 but
to rebuild it it’s going to cost you $200,000, you don’t
get the $200,000 until you replace. Now some insurance
contracts will say you can rebuild your home someplace
else but you need to look at the particulars of your
contract. Insurance is just like any other type of
contract. It’s very specific to you. Different companies
have different provisions. So while one company may say you
have to rebuild in the same location, another company may
say it’s fine if you rebuild someplace else. So you pull
out that old dusty insurance contract and take a look at
the provisions. Now let – that’s a good point. Let’s
talk about that for a second. Probably the only time you’ve
ever looked at or thought about your insurance contract
was at the settlement table. And probably then you really
didn’t think about it because somebody said you need to have
homeowner’s insurance and you sign the dotted line. And you
couldn’t have told me what your policy did and didn’t
cover. Every year the insurance company’s been
sending you these little love letters and you may or may not
be reading them. Those little love letters aren’t really
love letters. They’re changing the terms of your contract. So
if you’re not reading what they’re sending you, you have
no idea how your policy looks now. And what they’ve done is
they have changed the terms. So every time you get a love
note from your insurance company, look at more than
what it currently costs, look at what it says. And if they
send you information and you don’t understand it, pick up
the phone and ask them what it’s all about. There’s a
sheet on the table that is all about understanding your
declaration page. And let me tell you how important it is
to understand what your policy has changed to. Your
deductible. You all are really familiar with automobile
deductibles. It’s a flat number – $250, $500 or $1,000.
You’re used to that. And for the most part, when you
started having homeowner’s insurance, homeowner’s
insurance companies had flat $500, $1,000, sometimes
$2,000, right? Over time, insurance companies have
changed their rules on deductibles. Some now have a
hurricane deductible. Some have a wind deductible. Some
have a hurricane, a wind and another deductible. But do you
know what else some of them have? A percentage deductible.
A percentage of the claim? No. A percentage of what you have
your home insured for. So let’s take that $300,000 and
let’s say you have a 10 percent percentage deductible.
That means your deductible is thirty thousand dollars. So
that means if you have a loss for $26,000, you pay 26,
insurance company pays zero. If you have a loss of thirty
one thousand dollars, you pay 30, insurance company pays
one. Now if, like most of us, you don’t have $30,000 laying
around, you say, well, I’m going to delay getting the
repairs made. Right? Wrong. Because the insurance company
is going to say you no longer need our underwriting
guidelines, we don’t want you anymore. And you’re canceled.
I’m making this up, right? Absolutely not. After
Hurricane Irene, people in southern Maryland – I can’t
tell you the number of people that didn’t realize that they
had percentage deductibles and all of a sudden they couldn’t
come up with the amount and they lost their policies. And
trying to get another homeowner’s insurance company
to cover you when you’ve been cancelled because you haven’t
repaired your property is very very very difficult, if not
impossible. OK? So if you take nothing else from this
presentation, go home and figure out whether you have a
percentage deductible. And if you’re not clear, tomorrow
call your insurance company and don’t ask them what the
percent is, ask them what that means in dollars. OK? Because
a percent – I don’t do math, that’s why I went to law
school. So you want to know, at the end of the day, how
much it’s going to cost you before the insurance company
pays anything. Make sense? Alright. Let’s talk about some
of the stuff that your homeowner’s policy doesn’t
cover. We all know that homeowner’s insurance never
ever ever covers flooding. You don’t have to live beside the
lake or the stream or the river to have flooding. Any
time water seeps into your home, that’s deemed flooding.
OK? What else doesn’t your homeowner’s insurance
generally cover? Earthquakes. We don’t have to worry about
earthquakes. You got a real short memory. We’ve had
earthquakes. Several of them. And I don’t tell people that
you have to get earthquake coverage, but it’s something
you need to think about. I don’t tell people that they
need to get any type of coverage. But what you do is
you need to make an informed decision as to whether or not
this is coverage that you need. Water, sewer backup. The
insurance company has to make you an offer. You have to
accept the offer and pay extra for the coverage. And some
companies may offer different dollar amounts, but you have
to make the decision what works for you. What else?>>:Volcano.>>:Well, don’t know if we
could ever possibly have a volcano here, but you never
know. The other thing that I try to really – especially
when I come out to Howard and Montgomery County – let’s talk
trees. This young man and I live side by side. He takes
great care of his property. Me, I’m on the road all the
time, my trees are a hot mess. My tree falls on his house.
Whose insurance has to pay? His. Repeat that. My tree, his
house, his insurance has to pay. The only way my insurance
might have to pay is if he put me on written notice that the
next time the wind blew, my old rotten tree was going to
fall on his house. OK? Now let’s say this time it’s still
my tree, but instead of falling on his house, it falls
on mine. Well believe it or not, I’m relatively fortunate
because it’s falling on my house so my insurance company
is going to pay to remove it off of my house and I’m going
to get some repair work done. Instead of falling on my
house, it falls on my fence but it only damages three or
four portions of my fence. Got a brand new beautiful
beautiful fence and it but it’s only damaged a little
bit, they’re going to pay pay to replace the whole fence
right? No. Just the portion that it’s damaged. But I can’t
get three or four pieces to actually match because this is
a custom made fence. So sad, too bad. Now let’s move from
it falling on my property to the middle of my yard. Now it
hasn’t damaged my property, but it’s just laying in the
middle of my yard. The insurance company will give,
depending on the company, $500 or $1,000 to remove that tree,
not per tree. So if I have five or six huge trees, here’s
your check for $500 or $1,000 and you figure out how to pay
for the rest of it. OK? The other big thing that we have
consistently is hail damage. When I first started doing
this – and I’m not going to tell anybody how long ago that
was – if we had a hailstorm and we I got damage to one
side of my house, the insurance company would have
paid to rewrap the entire house. Now with the hail
storm, if I get damage to only one side, they’re only going
to pay to replace – and it’s not all companies, but most
companies – the portion of the house that was actually
damaged by the hail. And some companies are even a little
bit stricter. They’re only going to pay if the hail
breaks the siding. The chances of the type of hail that we
get here breaking the siding generally does not happen.
That’s the kind of hail that they get in Texas. So what
does that tell you need to do? Read your contract and
understand what’s covered and what’s not covered. There are limits on
jewelry, there are limits on computer equipment, there are
limits on coins, there are limits on guns. Everything
there is a limit. If you look at the brochure on the back,
it tells you. And what I tell people to do is, you don’t
always have to buy extra coverage, but understand what
the limits are so that you’re not thinking that a claim is
going to be paid for and in fact it’s not. OK? So let’s
talk about the biggie. Flooding. As I said, flooding
is never covered by your homeowner’s insurance policy.
So you have to get a separate flood insurance policy. Now
there are a couple of different ways that you can
acquire flood insurance. The primary way and the way that
most people have heard of is through the National Flood
Insurance Program. This is a federal program and it is
something, basically, that’s written by Congress, and what
that program pays and doesn’t pay is written in law. So
there’s nothing – if I buy my policy from an insurance – a
federal NFIP policy – if I buy it from an insurance company
or if I buy it from the NFIP, it’s going to be the same
policy. They can’t differ because there’s only one type
of policy. But if you choose not to buy it through the
federal government, there are some private insurance
companies that will sell flood insurance. So – and there but
there are different kinds of ways that some of the private
companies will do it. The flood insurance policy only
offers usually about $250,000 worth of coverage. So if your
home is worth more than that, some companies will offer
what’s called excess coverage. But then there are some
companies that will offer you the coverage totally. So just
shop around. And if someone tells you – you’re dealing
with an agent and the agent says you can’t get it – here
in Howard County, yes you can. So if the agent tells you you
can’t, check with a different agent. Go online.
Floodsmart.gov, and we’ve got a brochure back there that
talks all about that. There are ways to get flood
insurance, but you need to understand that flood
insurance is not like homeowner’s insurance. Give
you two examples. You have a house that catches on fire and
the house totally burns down. If you have the appropriate
amount of homeowner’s insurance, the homeowner’s
insurance company will give you enough to rebuild your
home and for the stuff that you got insured, too – that
you’ve had, all your personal property. And while you’re
rebuilding your home, they’ll give you a place to live. It’s
called additional living expenses. And under your
homeowner’s policy, they don’t care where the stuff is. It
can be in the basement, it can be in the attic. They don’t
care. Flood insurance. First and foremost, biggest
difference. You have to buy two policies, one for the
structure and one for your stuff. So – and they call it a
content policy, I call it a stuff policy. So if you have a
structure policy and not a policy to cover your stuff, it
ain’t covered. So let’s say you buy both policies and you
have a woman cave. You’ve got the neatest basement, you’ve
got all this wonderful flooring, a huge television,
all this great stuff in your basement. Home floods. Flood
insurance isn’t covering that stuff. Flood insurance covers
very limited stuff in a basement. It covers the
basics. So don’t put your good stuff in the basement.>>:[(LAUGHTER)]>>:Also, big difference. There
is no such thing as additional living expense with the Flood
Insurance Program. OK? So while they are – your house
could have totally washed away and, while you need a place to
say stay, so sad, too bad. Other big difference.
Flooding. You guys all know the power of water. The water
comes up right to where the TV hits. They’re not going to
tell you to tear out all your walls, they’re going to cut it
to where the water line is, tell you to use some Clorox
and clean it up. So if you’re listening to me, you’re like,
well why in the world would I ever buy flood insurance?
Because if you lose everything, how are you going
to recover? FEMA’s going to save us, right?>>:[(LAUGHTER).]>>:Even for the folks in
Houston and in Florida, the general average amount of
money that most of them are going to get back is like
$30,000 or $40,000.>>:If you’ve lost everything,
can you rebuild with $30,000 or $40,000? Don’t think so. So
once again, what I tell people is, I never tell people you
got to buy it. But you really need to at least consider it.
And think about, if something bad happens tomorrow, how am I
going to replace my home and my stuff. Yes, ma’am?>>:So a lot of the houses
around here they are built into the side of a hill, which
the insurance company then defines the first floor as a
walkout basement, and most of the expensive stuff is in that
first floor. Can you talk about what level of coverage
that has then?>>:When you are dealing with
the NFIP, they look specifically to see if it’s
totally below ground. And if it’s a totally below ground
basement, the stuff in it won’t be covered. But some of
the basements that are sub-floor, I’ve seen them not
cover that stuff, too. So the best thing to do is not wait
’til an event, have the conversation up front because
after Isabel there were lots of things that I’m looking at
and, oh, this will be covered – not covered. So really have
that conversation up front. And then once you have that
conversation, reduce it to writing. OK? Yes sir?>>:If you have secondary
damage, the wind comes in and bursts pipe and your water
pipe now floods your basement, who covers that?>>:That’s not flooding. What
you just described is the bursting of a pipe. Flooding
occurs when water seeps into your basement. So it’s an
outside force. Now that water that seeps in might come even
from a swimming pool. But and that’s considered flooding.
But if you have – now listen to me closely on this – a
sudden and accidental bursting of a pipe – I’m going to say
it again – sudden and accidental. Not a pipe that
over time has corroded, that over time you’ve not done
anything to, even if you didn’t know it. The only time
the insurance company is going to pay for the damage caused
by a pipe is if it’s sudden and accidental. But here’s the
thing. Most of the insurance companies won’t pay for the
pipe or the plumber. They’ll cover and pay for the water,
the things that the water damaged. So I see it all the
time with the hot water heater. Hot water heater
bursts. Only the stuff that the hot water heater water
damaged. But they don’t pay for the hot water heater. OK?
But what you described is not a flood. But let’s talk about
concurrent causation because we had some of that in Houston
and – well not in Houston, Houston that was mainly
flooding. But some of the other areas in Texas, and we
had it definitely after Katrina. The wind blows the
roof off but later the floodwaters push the home
away. As long as you can show that there were two distinct
events, then you’ll get coverage for losing the roof.
But if the wind and the water happen at the same time, it’s
called concurrent causation. And because flooding is not a
covered loss, they use that to not cover anything. Yes sir?>>:There’s a sixteen inch pipe
down the street belonging to the town – not your individual pipe. And if that floods you, suddenly, is that covered?>>:Maybe. It’s going to depend
on the terms of your particular policy. Some of the
policies cover if the pipe is only in your home.>>:This would be more than at
home.>>:Some of the policies cover
– and I’m going to start with just the homeowner’s insurance
– some of the policies cover if it’s just in your home.
Some of the policies cover pipes that are in your
property. Other policies cover the street, your home, your
property, I mean all of it. So it really depends on what your
particular policy covers. If it’s a pipe bursting, I’ve
seen it that the Flood Insurance Program sometimes it
covers it, sometimes it doesn’t. It’s going to depend
on lots of other factors. Yes sir?>>:If you’re in a condo and
there’s a fire in the your upstairs apartment and the
automatic sprinklers go on, how does that impact what
you’re talking about?>>:OK. Condominium unit. You
are on the second floor. The person on the third floor,
they leave the pot on. Pot – and it was accident. And so
the pot basically catches everything on fire and the
condo unit sprinklers come on. Under your policy, as opposed
to the third floor person policy, your policy would
cover the water damage from the sprinklers. When you would
be able to go after the person on the third floor is if they
did something that they were liable for. So, basically, you
would have to show that they intentionally did that
particular action.>>:What if they stupidly did
something? (LAUGHTER)>>:The law lets people be
stupid all the time. (Laughter). Yes ma’am.>>:For the definition of a
flood, I was reading some of the policies. They said it had
to impact three properties or something like an acre?>>:You’re talking about –
you’re looking at – you’re not looking at homeowners,
you’re looking at flood insurance. And the Flood
Insurance Program, what it says is, one or more because
sometimes the property that it has to impact could be the
street. So if you have flooding at your home and the
street, that could be deemed to be a flood. And they don’t
have to be adjacent properties. So let’s say water
– you’ve got your neighbor’s home and your neighbor sits
home sits way back, but because of the angles of the
home, it floods you and somebody two doors down. That
would be, generally deemed, as a flood. But once again it’s
very fact specific. Yes sir.>>:The decision about
purchasing flood insurance, I assume it has to do whether
you’re in a flood plain and all these
other considerations?>>:You can go to
floodsmart.gov, plug in your address and that’ll give you
the price for a flood insurance policy. And
basically, flood insurance is just like every other type of
insurance, the more risky you are – so the more likely it is
that your property will flood – the more you’re going to pay
for it. OK? But floodsmart.gov, and that
address is in the natural disaster brochure. Yes sir.>>:So should we contact
(unintelligible)>>:Well let me start with
this. Any time you contract with a company, before the
insurance company has the chance to do anything, there’s
a chance that the insurance isn’t going to pay for it and
you would be liable. So I mean I see it rather frequently.
People contact restoration companies to come out once
they’ve had damage and to dry out their home or to remove
their clothes and wash them for them. And then the
insurance company says this isn’t a covered loss. And then
SERVPRO says, well that’s real nice, but you owe us. So you
need just to be careful. You need to mitigate and protect
yourself, but just realize that before you start having
contractors and companies come out and do all kinds of work,
you need to make sure that you’ve got a way to pay for
it. And if it’s not a covered loss, the insurance company is
not going to pay for it. Does that answer your question?>>:Yeah.>>:Now you asked about gap
insurance. This is what I tell folks. The best type of gap
insurance that you can do is to put some money aside and be
a lot more disciplined than I am. So that when you have a
loss, you’ve got some money to pay for your deductible and
any incidentals, because that way you’re not waiting on that
insurance check. OK? I saw another hand someplace.>>:So question for you. So a
friend of mine had his house catch fire – didn’t – wasn’t a
total loss, insurance had to come in and say, yeah we can
cover you in all of that. But they used their contractors
versus a contractor of his choice. And based upon general
consensus, the contractor didn’t exactly do what they
should’ve done, quite frankly. It was obvious that they cut
corners, it was obvious they tried to cosmetically repair
versus structural, that type of thing. Now obviously
there’s a code thing they had to adhere to, but what are the
what’s the recourse in that circumstance where there’s a
question about the replacement work?>>:OK. First and foremost, you
always have a choice with a contractor. Insurance
companies can say this is these people are on our list
of contractors, but you don’t have to use them. You always
have a choice. But here’s the benefit of using one of their
contractors. That contractor should be licensed with the
Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulations. We call it
DOLLAR. And because of that, that contractor has to do
certain things in compliance with the code but also in the
compliance with good workmanship. So if you believe
that the contractor hasn’t done the repairs properly, you
file a complaint with DLLR and they will investigate it to
determine whether the action was proper or not.>>:Is there a certain amount
of time that it has to be filed?>>:That I don’t know the
answer to but I’m sure if you go on their website they would
tell you that, it’ll probably have that information there.>>:This particular
circumstance, basement fire, and there was a question about
the joists on the upper level floor that were – should have
been replaced. They did replace about a third of the
floor itself and so forth, but there was another question
about – I’ll say for the sake of discussion – another half
of the basement. And what they chose to do was essentially remediate the damage and then paint over…>>:Yeah. And that’s one of the
things that you can go to DOLLAR and complain about. Yes sir.>>:So, what’s the best way to
document your items in the house? Pictures or receipts?>>:You got a choice. You need
to do, and you’ll see in the natural disaster book, a
personal property inventory. You can either go through –
like it does in the book – and write all that stuff down. Or
you can take pictures or you can do a video. But this is
what I tell folks, don’t forget the stuff in the
closets. Don’t forget the stuff in the garage. That’s
where the money is. I can’t tell you how many televisions
I have. I just need to close my eyes and think about it.
But what’s the stuff that I have in my closet? What about
in the cupboards? A lot of people don’t realize that the
china that they use every holiday is now ruined until
they try to pull it out for the holiday. So if you got
that list, that’s how you remember. So once you have
either the list, the pictures or the video, what do you do
with it? You don’t leave it in your house.>>:[(LAUGHTER)]>>:I tell people that have
businesses, put your business stuff at home, put your home
stuff at your business, unless they’re all in the same
building. Then you can use a safe deposit box, put it in
the cloud if you happen to trust the cloud, give it to a
loved one. But every year, you need to update that, unless
you don’t get anything new every year, because over time
things change. OK? Well I’m – oh, yes ma’am.>>:I’m sorry, you had
mentioned the written notice for, you know, your
tree’s going to fall on my house. Is there anything
similar with water damage where, you know, hey, the way
you built that is definitely going to flood my house next
time it rains?>>:You can try it. I mean you
are able to put people on written notice for just about
anything. Whether or not a court – because that’s where
it’s going to end up, in court – is going to determine that
that person is liable, it’s going to depend on the judge
you get. Yes sir.>>:A similar situation. In a
town house community, one neighbor takes immaculate care
of his place, the other place he just lets it lapse and, for
example, he has insects going in and so forth. Does the
immaculate housekeeper have any kind of recourse? I mean
like…>>:Yeah.>>:…If you put that person
on notice that you have termites in your property…>>:…And you’re worried about
the termites coming over…>>:…And we’re adjacent
neighbors…>>:You can try, but once again
that’s really going to depend on the judge. And I don’t
think I ever seen – because I also hear cases occasionally –
not occasionally, a lot. But I’ve never seen anyone prevail
on anything like that. But it doesn’t – just because I
haven’t seen it, doesn’t mean you couldn’t.>>:Is it advisable to put that
person on notice that your bugs are likely going to mess
up my house?>>:You can. And I tell people
these kinds of disputes I have seen ruin relationships with
neighbors. So it’s a judgment, just like everything else.
It’s a judgment call. You had a – yes ma’am.>>:This is a horror story and
it’s from Pennsylvania, so perhaps (unintelligible) in
Maryland. We had a home totally destroyed by fire and we had
replacement cost homeowner’s insurance and found out there
was a difference between replacement cost and
guaranteed replacement cost.>>:That’s that particular
insurance company. Some companies have stepped it up a
little bit – not all companies. Most – and actually
it’s most companies – only use the term replacement costs.
There are a – and I’m not even sure in Maryland whether we
have approved that language in any policy. But that goes back
to the very beginning. Understanding what your policy
does and doesn’t cover and reading those loving note.
Because that policy, I can tell you, started out as a
replacement cost policy and then later on – and the way
they tell you, we realize that your insurance premium has
gone up, have we got a deal for you. We’re going to allow
you to keep your premium the same by just changing these
terms. It’s not a big change, it’s a little bitty change.
When you get that love note, your ears should go up. You
shouldn’t be calling and understanding what that change
actually means. OK? Because that’s what happened with some
of the policies when – and this is something that I know
is in Maryland. Roofs. You know your roof depreciates
over time, right? There was a period of time that if – now
they’ve always been very limited on what they’re going
to cover, so if only a few of the shingles are damaged,
you’re only going to get money for the damaged shingles. Well
now also some of the companies do something called
depreciating the shingles. So if I have a 20 year shingles
and 10 years in I have damage to my roof, they’re going to
depreciate how much they’re going to pay me for my
shingles. Read your policy. Read your policy. I saw this
gentleman here in then I’ll ->>:Well, back a bit to the
water sewer backup. I live in a town home so I’m not really
sure the risk I have of that happening, and then how much
of my house is covered, or needs to be covered, as
opposed to what the county takes care of?>>:I can’t speak to what the
county does and doesn’t cover. I can only speak to what your
insurance policy will and won’t cover. And here’s the
answer. It depends on the letter of the
contract. Some of them cover if the backup is caused by
something on your property, some of them cover if the
backup is caused by something between your property and the
street, and some of them cover even more. So what you need to
do is look at your contract and talk to your insurance
representative. OK? Young lady?>>:If the electricity goes out
for a couple of days and then your sump pump can’t work, and
so you get water in your basement. What covers that?>>:It depends. Some policies
will cover if the sump pump goes out because of natural
causes like the electricity going out. Some of the
policies only cover if there’s a major electrical shortage to
one of the major things. Once again – and I know you guys
are sick and tired of me saying it depends, but it
does. And just because your policy covered it last time,
doesn’t mean it’s going to cover it next time. That’s all
in the love notes.>>:I actually have the policy
sent to me, I read it every year. But I don’t feel like
it’s the whole policy because it’s not…>>:They’re sending you the
whole policy every year, I’m telling you that. They’re
sending you pieces every year.>>:(Inaudible).>>:Absolutely. The only thing
they’re sending you every year are the updates. They’re not
sending you the whole policy. No, but you can contact them
and tell them you want it.>>:OK, thank you.>>:Yes sir.>>:So when I called for flood
insurance, they pulled up a map where they were at and
said, OK, well this is what it’s going to cost you. So
does it matter whether I move all my utilities that were in
the basement that have a bigger chance of getting
flooded than if I move them up now to the first floor where
it’s like zero, maybe very low chance. Does that matter on a
policy?>>:That sort of thing I don’t
believe, but there are certain steps that you can take to
mitigate, and that’s in that flood insurance information.
So it’s – and I know I’m going to mess this up – but it’s how
far your the things on your basement that you open and
close, how far they are from the ground, there are all
these steps that you can do to bring the cost down. But
moving the washer and dryer and all that stuff up, those I
don’t believe are things that bring the price down. But it’s
called mitigation. So your question for them is, what
steps can I take to bring the price down? OK? Yes, sir.>>:I have a question that’s an
aside to the conversation here tonight. There are some
insurance companies that say they will give you back all of
your premiums.>>:Baltimore Equitable.>>:Yes.>>:Yes. I cannot recommend any
insurance company, but Baltimore Equitable, when it
comes to homeowner’s insurance, has been around
forever. And yes, based on the contract, they will give you
back your premium. But let me tell you, to get insured with
Baltimore Equitable, it costs a nice chunk of change. I think I – yes ma’am.>>:Is there a good guide or is
there a checklist on, when I read my policy, here are some
things I should evaluate based on?>>:The small yellow brochure,
“Consumer Guide to Homeowners Insurance.” OK? Alright. Make
sure you get some of the materials on the back table,
and thank you all for coming. (APPLAUSE)

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