Saturday, December 29, 2007

The Tree That Withstood Hurricane Rita--Continued

Again, the story of the Mighty Tired Oak. After I called Robert to help us with the tree, I called our insurance company to let them know and to see what they could/would do for us—under the terms of our homeowner’s and auto insurance policies. I didn’t think we had any more than liability on the truck, but couldn’t remember for sure. I didn’t want to have to look up my paperwork because I was stressed thinking of how this tree disaster would impact the next several days (I should have said, MONTHS, YEARS. Yeah.) Well, let me remind you that Hurricane Rita had happened 6 months prior to the tree coming to rest on top of husband’s truck cab and most of the front yard. And also, even more in the news coverage for Louisiana, Hurricane Katrina. Not more damage, necessarily, just more coverage of well, the very sad, and devastating results of the storm and so much human ineptitude in one large, well known city, etc. Oh, and I am remiss! The oak took out my beloved redbud tree that stood closer to the house, and was so beautiful in the spring, its blossoms brightening what was once the window of my office. Number 3 daughter turned it into her bedroom after moving back home a couple of years or so ago. Still, I was grieved to see it smashed beneath the Oak. And then, we learned later, that along with the redbud, the rather young live oak was also damaged as well as was the huge juniper bush beneath Daughter #3’s bedroom window. We know now that the yard will never be the same again.

So, to the insurance claims phone answerer person. The woman answered my call and I explained our situation. She checked her trusty computer for facts, figures and policy, etc., etc. Then she told me, “Since the truck is only covered by liability, we can’t pay to have the tree removed from it.”

“What?” I asked. “I’m not asking for our insurance to pay for repairs to the truck.”

“Right. We can’t pay for any repairs, because the truck is only covered under liability.”

“Yeah. But . . . we do have a homeowner’s policy. That should pay something toward tree removal and any damage to the house, right?”

This woman reiterated the bit about the truck and how the “liability only” part excepted them from paying anything to have the tree removed from it.

I scratched my head a minute or two and asked, very carefully, “So, let me understand this. You’re telling me because the tree fell on the truck, even our homeowner’s policy won’t pay to have the tree removed from our property?”

Her next answer made me lose it! I laughed at the simple audacity, the terribly ridiculousness of her response.

“Well, ma’am, we can—after your deductible is met—pay for removing the tree from your home, but we cannot pay to have it removed from the truck, because the truck is only covered by liability.”

I was incredulous! I laughed in her ear and asked again. “Excuse me? The tree would have fallen on the driveway before falling on the rest of the yard, and house, but because it fell on the truck—covered only by liability insurance—you will not pay for having that portion of the tree on the truck removed?”

She knew I had her on ridiculousness, but had to save face, I suppose. Her response, “Yes, ma’am. That is correct.”

I don’t know if I was more irritated or astonished at her lack of logic. So, I asked about the policy paying for damage to the house. It got sillier. (That’s a really weird looking word—sillier—don’t you think? Silly is okay, but sillier? Oh, well.)

So irritated, me pushed a few more logic buttons, but came up with only the fact that the insurance adjuster would be out in a day or two or three to size things up and let us know.

Thank heaven for insurance adjusters who have a brain that works logically! He laughed nearly as much as I had originally when I explained what the claims individual had told me. Apparently she’d written the same in her notes which he’d read. His answer was, “Of course we have to pay to get the trunk of the tree off the truck! How else could we get it off your property? I don’t know what she was trying to do on that.”

Then the kind gentleman adjuster figured out—almost to the penny—what it would take to repair the damage to the house, and asked for a bid from the tree removal guy, Robert, for his bid/estimate—I forget which now—to remove the tree from the premises.

No comments: