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Old 06-30-2012, 06:38 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Question about homeowners insurance

Well... today i was greated by a big "AH FUCK!" at the back of my property. The railroad tie retaining wall holding up half my yard failed.

The wall was there when I bought the house 4 years ago and it looked great at the time. Well... looks can be deceiving. I started pulling the ties apart.... by fawking hand! the thing was dry rotted completely through.... only the front 2" or so of the tie was still wood... everything else was shit.

That being said... Im planning on calling my home owners insurance on monday to have them come look at it. The wall is about 4-5' high and 40' long where it failed. Is this even something home owners insurance typically covers? Its way too much for me to repair myself... and im sure the $ to have someone else do it isnt gonna be cheap. Figure... thats what insurance is for, right?

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Old 06-30-2012, 06:43 PM   #2 (permalink)
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They cover sheds and fences around here, would think this is the same thing.
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Old 06-30-2012, 06:47 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Is this even something home owners insurance typically covers?
Do all HO insurance companies cover the same things, or or all policies different and you shop around like a nightmare comparing apples to oranges?

If they are all different, you might want to dig out the copy of whatever you got. Curious: Did you shop around for a company when you got the house, or how did that go?
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Old 06-30-2012, 06:54 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Fuck no it ain't covered, but Little Jeep would find a way to write you a check.
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Old 06-30-2012, 06:57 PM   #5 (permalink)
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It's a double edge sword. The company may cover it but then may drop you and then you are fawked.
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Old 06-30-2012, 07:02 PM   #6 (permalink)
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1st off, what's your deductible? I think mine's 2500, but I know there were options of 5k and 10k. Kind of like auto insurance. Can you find someone to do it for cheaper than the deductible? Next, your insurance paperwork, which you can get online from your insurance company, will tell you exactly what they cover. Some are extremely picky about what they'll cover. Say they determine the cause of the problem came from your neighbors property... they'll tell you to take it up with them.
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Old 06-30-2012, 07:24 PM   #7 (permalink)
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I'd do some checking first to see what the repair cost is vs deductible.

If it's close I'd skip putting in a claim and just fix it myself.
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Old 06-30-2012, 07:34 PM   #8 (permalink)
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I have a $1000 deductible. I just read through most of my Home Owners Policy (Triple A) and it sounds like it would be classified as "other structures" but it only goes up to 10% of the home owners policy.... so that'd be $25,000.
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Old 06-30-2012, 07:46 PM   #9 (permalink)
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I have a $1000 deductible. I just read through most of my Home Owners Policy (Triple A) and it sounds like it would be classified as "other structures" but it only goes up to 10% of the home owners policy.... so that'd be $25,000.
It may be an "other structure" but the cause of loss is the subjective part.
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Old 06-30-2012, 07:49 PM   #10 (permalink)
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I'm betting that a retaining wall is going to be an exclusion and not covered.

Quote:
Property Exclusions

Coverage A and B

Collapse – The collapse of your house is excluded unless the cause of loss is listed in the additional coverages section of your policy.
Freezing – Freezing of plumbing, heating, or air conditioning systems is excluded if the heat has not been maintained while the building is vacant, unoccupied, or under construction.
Flood – The most important thing to know is that your policy does NOT cover flood. You must purchase a separate policy to cover damage from a flood. Flood has been an excluded peril since 1968 when the government started the National Flood Insurance Program. Even if you don’t live in a designated flood zone, it is important to have flood insurance in the event of hurricanes or heavy rains. Also, premiums for flood insurance can be inexpensive depending upon your flood risk. You can purchase a flood policy through your homeowners insurer or find an agent through the flood program. Visit www.FloodSmart.gov to learn how the National Flood Insurance Program defines a flood and learn how much your annual flood insurance premium can cost.
Foundations, Retaining Walls, and Nonbuilding Structures – Loss to these items (including fences, swimming pools, and docks) by freezing, thawing, pressure or weight of water or ice is not covered.
Dwelling under Construction – Theft from a dwelling under construction is excluded. Theft of material is also excluded until the dwelling is finished.
Vandalism and Malicious Mischief – This exclusion only applies if the building has been vacant for more than 30 consecutive days before the loss. (Vacant being empty and unfurnished and unoccupied being a furnished home where the residents are on vacation.)
Mold, Fungus or Wet Rot - Loss caused by Mold, Fungus or Wet Rot is not covered if caused by a sump, sump pump or related equipment or a roof drain, gutter, downspout or similar fixture or equipment. Please review your individual policy carefully in order to comprehend exactly what is covered.
Risks of Direct Physical Loss Exclusion –The homeowners form insures your property against any loss as long as it isn’t excluded. This section lists some of the other specific causes that aren’t covered. Examples are: wear and tear, smog, birds, rodents, animals owned or kept by an insured, and settling.
Concurrent Causation Exclusions – This section deals with more than one event causing a loss. The policy details how losses are handled when one cause is covered and another isn’t.
Your experience may vary.
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Old 06-30-2012, 08:43 PM   #11 (permalink)
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I'm betting its not covered, my ex neighbor had his retaining wall fail and kill his AC unit in the process.... the sent an adjuster over and the call he got was basically a big fu.

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Old 06-30-2012, 09:14 PM   #12 (permalink)
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My meter pole broke a year ago and it wasn't covered. I doubt your retaining wall will be covered.
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Old 06-30-2012, 11:28 PM   #13 (permalink)
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Well.... fuck. Guess we'll see what they say. Looks like I might be in for a long hard rebuild

At least I can get all the free railroad ties I can shake a stick at from work.
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Old 07-01-2012, 06:07 AM   #14 (permalink)
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Fuck no it ain't covered, but Little Jeep would find a way to write you a check.
JPFaris is half right, it probably isn't a covered loss for several reasons. I only read policies, then determine if there is or is not an argument that the policy provides coverage for the loss.. in this situation, the chances of OP seeing any $$ from an insurance company, and/or a neighbor to cover damages, is slim, none, and not so good.
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Old 07-01-2012, 06:35 AM   #15 (permalink)
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My guess is that they will say it's a maintenance issue and therefore not covered. They would cover any damage caused by the collapse, but not the wall itself. If the failure was weather related or something like that, it might be covered.
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Old 07-01-2012, 11:02 AM   #16 (permalink)
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Well.... fuck. Guess we'll see what they say. Looks like I might be in for a long hard rebuild

At least I can get all the free railroad ties I can shake a stick at from work.
Hell, that's the most expensive part.

Go rent a mini excavator, rip that old one out and trench for a fresh wall. You'll be good for another 15-20 years.

Probably do it, with your free ties, for less than your insurance deductible.

When you retrench, try and run some trenches perpendicular, say half the depth (2-3 ft.) into the hill side, spaced 8-10' apart and at each end. When you lay the railroad ties, run about a 4' length perpendicular to the wall into the hill side. This will help tie everything in and minimize a repeat of the wall exploding. Spike it in well through this piece and from above when you lay the next course, making sure there's no joints above or below the perpendicular piece.

Make sense?

Found this, which is even more robust than what I was describing, but a lot more digging too:

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Old 07-01-2012, 11:15 AM   #17 (permalink)
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FYI, Travelers wouldn't cover mine a few years ago. YMMV.
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Old 07-01-2012, 11:18 AM   #18 (permalink)
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if you do claim it, you will likely get dropped by your insurance company or they will raise rates to very high level.
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Old 07-01-2012, 03:33 PM   #19 (permalink)
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Fawk it. I just spent the day over at our rail welding yard de-plating old ties and hauled a bunch home... looks like Ill need another truckload though. I went ahead and removed all the rotten ties and lucky when I got down to the bottom most tie, it was rock solid and great condition. The dead men are a little rough at the ends but I'll strap em up and theyll be good to go. best part was right where the wall failed there wasnt a dead man So I'll add one on the rebuild.

The dirt behind the wall had some big ass 2-3"roots in it too which appear to be what was fawking the wall up.... so I chopped them back. The trees are pretty far away so i think theyll be fine. If not... Tough shit for the tree. When i backfill this bastid Im gonna cement treat the first 3-6"inches of dirt just to make it unsavory as fawk for roots in the future.

Well.... Im dog ass tired.... time for a sandwich and a nap
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Old 07-01-2012, 03:58 PM   #20 (permalink)
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Fawk it. I just spent the day over at our rail welding yard de-plating old ties and hauled a bunch home... looks like Ill need another truckload though. I went ahead and removed all the rotten ties and lucky when I got down to the bottom most tie, it was rock solid and great condition. The dead men are a little rough at the ends but I'll strap em up and theyll be good to go. best part was right where the wall failed there wasnt a dead man So I'll add one on the rebuild.

The dirt behind the wall had some big ass 2-3"roots in it too which appear to be what was fawking the wall up.... so I chopped them back. The trees are pretty far away so i think theyll be fine. If not... Tough shit for the tree. When i backfill this bastid Im gonna cement treat the first 3-6"inches of dirt just to make it unsavory as fawk for roots in the future.

Well.... Im dog ass tired.... time for a sandwich and a nap

that right there is some hard ass work.
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Old 07-01-2012, 04:05 PM   #21 (permalink)
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Screwzer's pic is a good practice

My half brother's Dad and I did a tiered retaining wall system at my Mom's house about 25 years ago (fun way to spend the summer between Jr High and High School).

We did the following:

- Horizontal ties with vertical ties and staggered ends on the non-load side of the wall, buried ~ 4' deep
- Spikes driven through horizontal ties (were ~ 2.5-3X longer than thickness of ties) every 4' or so in a staggered pattern
- Stainless cables anchored through the vertical ties using eyelet bolts; anchored in the earth back a few feet from wall with deadmen (I think it was either another tie or a well casing pipe)
- Back filled base with crushed gravel and drain pipe sloped down the hill

When we did this wall, these were with ties we pulled out of an abandoned service with date spikes in the early 1950s, so these have been in use for almost 70 years and seem to still be doing fine.
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Old 07-05-2012, 06:08 AM   #22 (permalink)
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after gone through this thread i think if i am moving for any home ****snip*** then i should check following terms before taking it so can save myself form such kind of situation in future:

Dwelling
other structures
unscheduled personal property
loss of use
personal liability
medical payments
spam!!!!!!!!!!

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Old 07-05-2012, 06:10 AM   #23 (permalink)
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As you add things and coverage the costs go up. This is nothing different then what has happened to Medical insurance. If you could buy insurance that covered ONLY major events like a broken leg it would be cheap. When you start wanting to make claims for runny noses and go ever month for your 3 kids the cost goes WAY up.

Home owners insurance is no different.

When I had a leak in my kitchen drain a few weeks ago and decided to replace the flooring and cabinets and started getting quotes. Every asstadian from the asstard nebula told me "call your insurance they will buy you new cabinets and new carpet weaved from 18k gold".

Fact is the damage on the cabinets was because they were 41 years old and wore out. Where they got wet was not visible from the front and not effecting them where they couldn't function (Cabinets made out of real wood not particle board). The carpet was well past its prime and only a 4ft section had got wet. No way in hell I would have a clear conscience when the actual damage with me doing most of the work was $250 and I was back to where I was before the leak.

DT did the right thing for the same reason. Cross tie walls rot out. Its a fact of life. You can do some stuff to extend their life like back filling with something that will drain better so they don't sit constantly wet. But to try to make a claim on a 20+ year old tie wall that cause no other damage....
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Old 07-05-2012, 06:12 AM   #24 (permalink)
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I'm betting that a retaining wall is going to be an exclusion and not covered.



Your experience may vary.
He is exactly right. its a retaining wall. Wont be covered.


And even if it was wet-rot wouldnt be either.
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Old 07-05-2012, 12:29 PM   #25 (permalink)
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all insurance companies generally cover similar calamities but they have at least one unique selling product which attracts customers.so check the insecure company that offers maximum ***snip***
coverage at affordable cost.select the insurance company pay the premium and relax.your house insurance company take care of your house.
Reported as spam......
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