Saturday, November 16, 2013

Insurance Issues

Today we're going to focus on our house projects.  We were going to write about work we planned to do in the bathroom, but that has been put on hold for a while because we got word from Allstate, our insurance company, that they were going to drop us in one month on December 28th if we didn't fix what they consider issues with our house. they are...the issues:
  • The siding/frame exterior of our dwelling or garage has missing sections.
  • The windows of your dwelling or garage are boarded up.
  • Your detached structure has vegetation/plant growth.
  • Your soffits/fascia/eaves need paint.  (I had to look up soffit and fascia.)
  • Your side steps are missing.      

Really?  Do they understand that it is November in Washington State.  Who in their right mind is going to paint in November?  We knew those things needed to be done.  There is a 2 - 3 foot spot that needs to be painted (on the highest eave, of course). We were going to wait until spring.  Now, we are putting a rough coat of paint on it because they said we have to (for fire prevention reasons).  Then, we'll have to redo it next spring / summer when we do the whole house like we planned.  Seems silly and is frustrating.  Here is the picture of the eave that Allstate sent (we still have to paint this).

So...Rich went up on the extension ladder today because it's rare to have days without rain this time of year and today was one of those rare days.  That scared the you-know-what out of me because he has not been as sure-footed lately.  I don't know if it's residual from his treatment or not, but it was nerve-racking.  He climbed the ladder and painted the boarded up window that we were going to replace with a cool door down the road when we extend the deck.  Now we have a brown spot instead.  Here is the picture Allstate sent and the finished spot:

Allstate's picture

Our Brown Spot

We had completed the back stairs even before we got their letter.  We figured they wanted them there because we may forget there are no steps and walk out the door falling to the ground...right!  Actually, I suppose it's for liability reasons in case someone visiting our property were to do that.  Following is their picture (we'll show both the steps next time - didn't get a good shot):

Allstate's picture showing that steps are needed

The siding / exterior has also been worked on.  I showed that in a previous post, but now we need to paint the plywood that Rich was putting on for the winter until we can properly side it next spring. Here is Allstate's picture:

Allstate's picture of the siding / foundation

Rich's fix for now - still needs to be finished and painted:

Apparently, it's an Allstate requirement that outbuildings in Washington State have to be insured.  At least that is what I was told when I called.  I asked for clarification because our old barns are just that...old.  We are planning to fix them up for rescue animals someday, but I asked if we could just take them off the policy for now until we can get everything else done.  Clearing the blackberries away from the side of the barn as it shows in their photo is the least of our worries.  Blackberries in Western Washington, imagine!  

She said that we couldn't remove the barns from the policy.  Really?  We can't choose what we insure on our own property?  Oh, my.  Allstate requires that all buildings be in good condition or they will not insure you.  Allstate's picture of our barn: blackberries:

Do you know that I was told by Allstate that if we have some small claim, say, pipes burst doing maybe $1000.00 worth of damage, that we shouldn't claim because they frown on that and may even drop us.  Crazy.  We should only claim if we have a larger issue like our house burns up, or a tree falls on it and completely demolishes it.  

Meanwhile, one website wrote that Thomas Wilson, CEO of Allstate, made 10.7 million a year.  Unbelievable.  I have included a link to a couple of interesting articles / papers about insurance companies and Allstate is specifically mentioned.  One is about a computer program that insurance companies now use that does not benefit policy holders  (click here to read it) The other is a PDF about the Ten Worst Insurance Companies from (click here to get to the PDF on Google)


Quest for the Good Life and Balance 

I'm taking deep breaths and remembering that we're working on finding balance in our lives.  I do admit that the outside world makes it very difficult sometimes.

I'm still reading the books on happiness.  I have finished Dr. Weil's book.  It was good, and I learned some new things, but it seems that I was already familiar with many of the action steps.  The one I am reading now is titled:  Happy for No Reason by Marci Shimoff. It's pretty good.  I'll write more on it as I get further into it.  Takes a while because I don't have a lot of time to read right now.


We have been discussing our idea for our senior animal rescue or sanctuary.  Basically, we would like to take senior animals in that have less chance of being adopted because of their age and give them a good home and lots of love for however long they may be with us.  It's starting to take shape.  We won't have a lot of animals because we want them to have the best care.   This has been one of my dreams since I was a child. I hope to see it finally come to be

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