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Sunday, September 14, 2014

Field Adjuster

So yesterday we finally met with the field adjuster.  He actually apologized for taking so long to get us, then explained that his schedule had been filled with minor insurance claims issues.  So people, stop calling your insurance after a storm because 1 shingle lifted on your property!  There may be others out there with real damage that need help.

Walking up to the house he said, this doesn't look so bad, the village condemned it?  He asked, does it look worse from the inside?  What he saw was the tarped roof.  I promptly pulled out my phone to show the event that took place and he was shocked.  Shocking a "catastrophe team" adjuster is kind of amazing.  We went around to the side to look at where the tree came up and he wasn't surprised by the concrete slabs.  And then we went inside.  When the adjuster's response as you walk towards the damaged area is "oh geez," you know things aren't good.  He looked at the living room and I told him about the steel beam likely making it safe in 2/3 of the house.  After looking over the damage he told me that 2 things likely saved my life.

1)  The tree was very close to the house, so it did not have as much time to build speed as it fell.
2)  The steel beam/older constructed home made it so the house could support the falling tree.

He asked us if the steel beam was bent.  I hadn't even considered that.  But when I consider that we found cracks in the siding by our front windows (past the steel beam), I realized it's a possibility.  The siding is likely cedar wood, so not a real easy feat.  I had been thinking that just the 1 ceiling beam we could see was damaged.  He declared that obviously the one (2x6) was split, but then that likely 6 ceiling beams will need to be replaced.  And he admitted more might be found once drywall is pulled from the ceiling.  I had been thinking the rafters were 2x4 and found it amazing the rafter was split.  Of course, I know nothing about house construction.  He measured and it's a 2x6!  This is split across the 6" part.  I can only imagine the amount of force needed to break that.  He took tons of measurements, including of the concrete slabs in the back.  Then he turned to us and said he was not going to write an estimate on site.  He said he typically does, but there is just too much damage.

The adjuster declared that this is the worst damage he's seen in the Chicago area and the only thing worse he's seen as an adjuster was houses half-flattened by tornadoes.  He asked if we had any contractors and we said no, we're fine using whoever they suggest.  We don't have any hidden agendas here, we just want a livable home to take our kids back to.  So he said that's great and should help things move more quickly since they can discuss things themselves.  We should not be alarmed if the contractor's estimate comes back higher than his, since who knows what will be found once they start pulling things out/down.

His final statement as he went to leave left us both feeling much better.  He let us know that things will be put back the way they were, with us only out our deductible.  After the last 8 days, this was the most reassuring thing he could say.  So from here, we wait to hear from the structural engineer on Monday.  And after that we should have a better idea of timeline and what the scope of the repairs will truly be.

Our stay at this hotel has been extended until Tuesday morning.  The thinking seems to be that once the engineer comes through we'll have an idea of the length of time displaced.  At that point we can get into an extended stay place which will be cheaper for insurance and better for us as a family.  My dad pointed out last night that there are perks to the one paying if the stay is 4 weeks or longer, so that may be why they were hesitant to move us there until they understood how bad things are.

Thank you God for keeping us safe and only having property damaged.  We know that this story could have been much different with just a couple changes.  Please continue to guide us and help us as we navigate this journey.  Thank you for wonderful friends and family that are incredibly supportive.

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