5 On Your Side

Five On Your Side Gets Involved In Homeowner's Insurance Battle

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RALEIGH, N.C. — Losing a house to a fire or some other disaster is a tragedy. Many people buy insurance to lessen the blow if it happens, but sometimes collecting that settlement is not so easy.

Roy Teague's rental house caught fire in March 2005. As a result, the walls were crumpled, wood was charred and the roof was caved in. While Teague is relieved it was vacant at the time, he's frustrated because his insurance company has not paid the claim.

"I wouldn't use the word ridiculous. I'd say utterly ridiculous," he said.

Teague filed his claim with Auto-Owners Insurance. About two months later, an adjuster called him with settlement offer. Then two days after that, the adjuster called back saying the company decided to look into it further.

When another month passed without word, Teague complained to North Carolina's Department of Insurance. Auto-Owners responded, saying a "complete investigation" was still necessary.

"It's a delay tactic," Teague said.

When the delay stretched four months, Teague called Five On Your Side.

"I just want to get compensated for my loss. Like the policy calls for. Is that asking too much? All I want is the right thing," he said.

Five On Your Side called Auto-Owners. A representative would only say the company is working with Teague to "resolve the claim." Finally, exactly one year from the date of the fire, Teague got a check for $51,000.

The check is based on an estimate that was done last May, so Auto-Owners has agreed to re-do the estimate based on today's prices, and possibly add to that check.

Under North Carolina law, you can hire an independent appraiser to assess the loss. If your appraiser agrees with the estimate provided by the insurance company appraiser, it ends there. If not, the two choose an "umpire" who makes the decision.

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