27 Comments

  1. Maybe their insurance doesn’t cover things like this. Maybe they’ve paid off their mortgage and didn’t get homeowner’s insurance. Maybe they have a really high deductible.

  2. Maybe the insurance question isn’t vital to the unfolding plotline, and wasn’t considered important enough to spell out.

  3. As we would say when I was a residential claims adjuster: “The policy covers stupidity.”

    If one damaged the property deliberately, that was excluded, but if one did something ill-advised that resulted in damage that would otherwise be covered, that damage was covered.

  4. Many years ago, Hubby cleaned my windshield with a cloth that had sand in it. You can imagine what the windshield looked like! I called our agent and asked, ‘Candy, does our policy cover stupidity?’

    Fortunately, it did, and the windshield was replaced.

    Hubby wasn’t.

  5. @ Andréa: I hope you got to drive the Vette during the repairs.

    Dumb stuff I covered:
    -Client was flying a drone indoors, knocked over their TV set
    -Client was watching YouTube on laptop computer under the kitchen sink while attempting self-repair of said sink. Water poured into computer when he removed the trap on the sink
    -Client got distracted when filling the tub. Tub overflowed, water damage to ceiling of the living room below
    -Client fit a spray hose attachment to the toilet supply line. This failed, causing substantial water damage
    -Client left patio umbrella in the up position. During high winds, the umbrella blew into the swimming pool, puncturing the liner
    -Client set fire to property by lighting candles while intoxicated and falling asleep
    -Client left expensive bicycle locked on bike mount on vehicle while sleeping in motel. All parts were stolen during the night, only the frame, locked to the vehicle remained
    -Client left hearing aids on a table in a house with a cat. They were never seen again

  6. ‘@ Andréa: I hope you got to drive the Vette during the repairs.’

    This happened years before Hubby got his dream car. You can BET he checked every piece of cloth before using it on THAT car!

  7. “Maybe the insurance question isn’t vital to the unfolding plotline, and wasn’t considered important enough to spell out”

    It is, if they’re making a big point of how they’re now financially ruined.

  8. Of course, if it’s not insured, they also have the option of just not rebuilding the deck. That’s not ideal, obviously, but it doesn’t affect the rest of the house and it’s certainly preferable to being “ruined.”

  9. Though it has been mentioned that the statues took down guttering and (I think) part of the roof, as well. It’s not just the patio, though that’s the biggest part.

    B.A. – no. The bigger your deductible the smaller your monthly payment – a lot of people go for a big deductible to reduce the regular costs. It works until you actually need it…though if their deductible is that big, they were pretty dumb to set it that high ($1000, $5000, even $10,000 shouldn’t “ruin” a family with two working adults, unless they have _no_ savings). (Is Sally currently working? I _think_ Ted is, he gets shown at the office occasionally.)

  10. I don’t read Sally Forth daily but I’m curious what these statues looked like. Where did they come from? Who put them up? Why did they destroy things when they came down?

    I read back a few weeks in the archive but didn’t find much.

  11. cicely: Thanks for that. I went back in the Sally Forth archives a month to find the origin of the werewolf statues before giving up. I didn’t have the endurance to make it back to Aug 2018!

  12. I can’t imagine that their insurance would cover damage caused by giant werewolf statues attached the the house.

  13. Winter Wallaby: A running joke of the strip is that Hilary, as song-writer for her kid band, writes nothing but songs about werewolves (mostly “werewolves in love”). The statues went up for her band’s summer “concert” (attended by parents of the members, and maybe a stray neighbor or two); they were built and installed by an incredibly competent girl their own age whom Hilary met at summer camp or somesuch. I can’t remember if Sally and Ted were away from home the day they were installed or if they somehow didn’t notice all the noise and activity that must have resulted.

    Since they were up in August and Halloween was only a few weeks away, it made sense (well, Ted-level sense, anyway) to leave them up for Halloween. I gather after that the family just became used to them, as one does when one has giant werewolf statues attached to one’s house, and didn’t get around to taking them down before the snow flew etc., with the results seen. (I don’t recall if Ted dressed the werewolves in Santa hats for Christmas, but I wouldn’t have put it past him.)

    If Hilary had been obsessed with TinkerBell-sized pixies and wrote songs about them instead, this whole problem might have been averted without the loss of maybe a stray shingle or two.

  14. They’re not counting on the insurance because insurance isn’t as funny as “We’re going to be paying this off for the rest of our lives”.

  15. @ B.A.: No, B.A., jjmcgaffey is correct. While I have a reasonably good understanding of residential insurance in Canada and a very good one of the situation in the province of Ontario and an excellent one for the policies my employer wrote, things may differ in other jurisdictions and with other insurers. That said, I think we’re about to address an industry trend here.

    My company no longer writes residential policies with a $500 deductible. The minimum (and default) is $1,000. I think this is because as times have changed, losses exceeding $500 are pretty much the norm for almost any kind of damage worth calling your insurance company for. It doesn’t stop many claims. To continue to offer a $500 deductible, knowing that almost any damage will result in a payment, premiums would need to substantially increase.

    To understand this, you have to consider what a deductible really is. The deductible is what we refer to as self insurance. It’s the amount of any loss the insured agrees to take on, the amount of risk he/she exposes themselves to. The actuaries calculate the risk that we’ll have to pay out on a policy and the amount we’ll likely have to pay out to determine the premium we have to charge to clients in that risk group to ensure we have enough money to pay all the anticipated claims and still *cough cough* have a little left over for our daily crust of bread (and tins of caviar for the bosses). The higher the deductible, the less frequently we will have to pay out. In exchange for reducing this risk to the company, the insured enjoys a lower premium.

    The problem that exists today, especially in the Toronto area, is that house prices are crazy high. The average price for a detached single-family house is around a million dollars. Make all the “peso” jokes you want, but that’s real serious money. People are really stretching themselves thin to buy a house. Many of them see insurance as a nuisance and an unnecessary expense, but they have to have it to get a mortgage. Even if they acknowledge the need for it, they want the lowest premiums possible. While $1,000 is the default, $2,500 is quite common. I saw $5,000 deductibles regularly. I had a few claims with $10,000 deductibles.

    Now, there’s nothing wrong with these high deductibles if that’s the client’s choice. They get substantially lower premiums. If they have the funds readily accessible to take care of damages below their deductible, should they occur, it could be a good choice as it protects the home in the event of a major or total loss.

    The problem is that so many people would start kicking when I told them our repair estimate was $9,000 and their deductible was $10,000, so thank you very much, would you like to withdraw your claim? (Withdrawing a claim meant they wouldn’t suffer a premium increase as a result of the damage to their home. Yes, reporting the claim and having me decline it because it’s below the deductible would increase your premium because your home is now in a higher risk group. I really wasn’t supposed to withdraw them, but I didn’t see the need to screw customers.)

    All kinds of “nobody told me”, “I didn’t ask for that deductible (a lie), “you guys take my money and now you’re trying to avoid paying,” all that stuff. I’d explain that they had chosen that deductible and what that meant was explained to them and we had a recording of the call. I’d also explain that over the years they had saved thousands of dollars per year in premiums because of this lower premium. These are often the people who tell you how their insurance company screwed them.

    As a side note, those who had $500 deductibles (there were even some lower) because they’re older policies are grandfathered in. However, if they ever increase the deductible, they cannot go back below $1,000.

    For tenant insurance (for renters), $500 is a common deductible and still available. This makes sense because tenants are only covered for their contents, plus liability,etc. There is no cover for damage to the structure as that is the owner’s responsibility to repair. Before anyone asks, if the tenant caused the damage through negligence, that is covered by the liability coverage on their policy and the owner’s insurance can claim against our company and we will negotiate a settlement with them for that. Though landlords will try to claim for stuff that they have no business putting on the tenant.

    TL;DR: Yeah, $500 deductibles on residential insurance is pretty much a thing of the past.

  16. A running joke of the strip is that Hilary, as song-writer for her kid band, writes nothing but songs about werewolves

    What! How soon the fans forget the earlier work, like “You’re So Party, Let’s Go Dancey”.

  17. “A running joke of the strip is that Hilary, as song-writer for her kid band, writes nothing but songs about werewolves ”

    Peak werewolf was about a decade ago, it seems to currently be largely in remission. It wouldn’t surprise me to see a new werewolf show turn up on the CW, but I think it would on one of the majors.

  18. @Brian in STL: “What! How soon the fans forget the earlier work, like “You’re So Party, Let’s Go Dancey”.

    I don’t know if that was “written” so much as “extruded” or “vomited out. . . “

  19. We live on a 4 lane main road (what fun!). Several years (more than 10) ago I heard a screech and several loud noises. When I looked out the window I saw a van that was against our curb tree and the utility pole that is in front of our house down and on our van on our driveway. (We never did find out if the fellow was speeding, drunk, ill , died, lived or what.)

    What we (and neighbors) were able to figure it out he was headed south (our side of the road) and hit a car two houses before ours, then continued to come, hit the utility pole, knocking it onto our van on the semi-circular driveway, and then continuing into our tree. He seemed to be a plumber as all sorts of pipe pieces and such ended up across the front grounds of our house – and damaged a storm window and our aluminum siding.

    This was two days before we were to leave on summer vacation. I ended up in the lobby of the Colonial Williamsburg museum on my flip phone repeating “no you’re not” into it as our car insurance told me that the van was being totaled and I would not let them as we could not replace it. They were not taking into account the new engine put in it 6 months before in calculating the value.I finally got them to pay us for the value and not total the van so we could pay the rest to have it repaired (and it sits yet in the same spot on the driveway).

    As to the damages to the house his insurance company told us to have our Homeowners cover the damage and not bother them. Of course I did not do this and eventually they paid for the damage to the house.

    Well, at least our house has never been hit by car – as our neighbor’s house was -twice. The car that was headed for our house stopped before it hit it.

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