Aside

Why it is a Good thing to have Home Owners Insurance

Photo Aug 03, 5 44 33 PMLast Saturday we were enjoying a beautiful day, when I remembered I had to go into the office to take care of a few work items.  As I was driving to the office I saw some ominous thunderstorms to the east of us.  I wasn’t too worried as the storms were about
50 miles away and they usually move to the East, away from us.

I was busy working when I noticed the sun disappear and the wind pick up outside my window.  I checked the radar on weather underground to see if any severe weather was coming(I am a bit of a weather nut).  The first thing that popped up on weather underground was a tornado warning in bright red.  I figured the warning wasn’t for us, since they post the warnings for the entire county and we reside in a massive county (4,000 square miles).  I clicked on the warning and it wasn’t for Greeley where I live and work, but was for Windsor, Eaton and some other small towns about five miles away.

I checked the radar now and saw a massive thunderstorm headed right for us coming from the North West.  The storms had basically popped up out of nowhere in the last 45 minutes.  I had driven my 1986 Porsche 928 to the office, so I quickly packed up my stuff and went home.  The Porsche is
not worth a ton of money, but it is in very good condition and has an aluminum
body.  If it were to be hailed on, the insurance would certainly total it and it
would be a nightmare getting fair value and finding a replacement.  I had
purchased my 928 in New York in 2010 and had it shipped back to Colorado, because they are so hard to find in good shape.

As I drove home I could see the storm to the North, it was very low,
almost black, with many clouds swirling in a  circle.  I made it home, put the
car in the garage and told Jeni (my wife) should watch out for this storm.  My two-year old twins were asleep for their nap, but we got everything ready for them in case we had to go to the basement.

In our new house we have fantastic views in almost every direction. I was able to see the storm coming from one of the second story windows.  I was amazed out how low the storm was and how much swirling was going on, it was a very powerful storm and was impressive on radar as well.  On the radar, storms show up as red when they are severe or if they are really bad purple.  This one had a big hunk of purple coming right for us.  Jeni was ready to wake up the kids at any moment if we decided we needed to go to the basement.  The storm was getting close when I noticed a lot of dust about a half a mile west of us, 500 feet in the air and moving south.  I don’t know if this was a tornado or just strong winds, but I told Jeni it was time to get in the basement.  My phone also lost all service at this point.  Later on we heard there was a tornado touch down a couple of miles from us and that could have been what I saw.

We woke the kids up, went to the basement and set ourselves up in our little storage/safe room.  It is a small 5×7 room with reinforced concrete walls, solid steel store and steel ceiling covered with concrete.  Just a few moments after we entered the sage room, we heard the hail begin.  We left the door open and could see out the walk out basement windows, huge hail blowing sideways.

The wind blew like crazy and we thought our house was destroyed after it was pelted by golf ball size hail for 15 minutes.  We ventured our way out of the safe room when it calmed down a little and we were greeted with a mess!  There was hail piled 6 inches deep in places, water everywhere from the heavy rain and leaves littering the yard.

We quickly assessed there was no immediate danger, all windows were intact.  We looked out the front and everything was a mess, but no visible major damage to anyone’s house.  Jeni’s phone started working and the rumors ran wild on Facebook about tornadoes, people being killed and what not.  I was a little worries about what the storm had done to other towns or neighborhoods, but then remembered this was Facebook.  I would wait to see how many, if any of the rumors were true. .  My phone started working at about this point and I received a text from one of my tenants.  It showed the entire side if the house with holes
in the vinyl siding from the hail (see picture at the beginning of the article).

We decided to drive by our properties to see what we had to deal with.  We went by the house with known damage first and it was pelted with hail as well as the rest of the neighborhood.  My friend Nick, has a house in the same neighborhood.  He had hundreds of holes in his siding and a broken window as well.  Every house we saw had holes in the siding, broken windows, the cars had major dents and broken widows.  Thankfully the other rentals were all in much better shape than rental property number 1.

Aftermath

Long story short, most of our rentals have roof damage
and rental number one has siding damage.  Our personal home, that we just bought three weeks ago needs a new roof, has holes in the stucco, holes in the vinyl fence, broken light fixtures, damaged trim and garage doors.  My wife’s Acadia was outside and it has hail damage as well.

We were in the process of getting estimates when the sewer backed up in rental number 6.  We had to get another claim going on that property and get a contractor over right away to clean up the mess.  They had to cut out drywall, take out the toilet and vanity and pull up some carpet.

Photo Aug 08, 8 39 24 AM

Lessons learned

It is good to have insurance and luckily my insurance agent talked me into getting sewer backup coverage on my rentals (thank you Jessica Gesso, American Family Insurance, Robert Gould Agency)!  The tricky part has been coordinating 6 different claims in all my properties.  I have each property in a separate LLC for legal liability reasons.  Turns out, I have separate policies on each rental, because of that.  If I would have had them all in my name or in one LLC they would all be under one policy and I would only have to pay one deductible.  However, I still think it is worth it to have everything in a separate LLC.

Staying positive

As many if you know, I am all about being positive and I think
attitude has a great deal to do with how much we each succeed.  This last week,
has been a tester for sure!  My coaches and people I listen to for inspiration
always say, it is easy to be positive when things are going well.  The hard part
is being positive when things are going bad.  I have been doing my best to look
at the positive and ignore the bad stuff.  Here is how this all could be positive.

1.  I will probably get new roofs on most if not all of my houses.  Some had older roofs that would have needed replaced eventually and this is a huge break to have insurance pay for them, instead of myself.  I will still have to pay deductibles, but that is a small price to pay compared to a new roof.  I think my deductibles are $1,000 on each property.

2.  I had sewer backup insurance on rental number 6. This would have cost me thousands if I had not included this rider in my policy.  When they pulled out drywall, they found mold behind some of the walls.  We got to kill two birds with one stone by taking out the mold when doing the repairs for the sewer!

3.  Jeni has been wanting a new car as hers is always in the shop.  We will see if they total it or not, but If they do that makes our decision very easy and she will get a new car.

4. I was able to get home in time to avoid any damage to my car.  No one was hurt and it was quite an experience seeing that storm move through.

Conclusion

It has added a lot to my already busy schedule to get all the claims going, meet roofers, talk to adjusters and figure out all the damage.  In the long run ,the houses will be in better shape for minimal out-of-pocket expenses.  I’ll be waiting patiently to see how much the insurance will give us for everything.  Hopefully this is the last storm like this for a long time.

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