NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — Over the years, Miriam Krantz has sent her insurance company thousands of dollars in hopes if a storm damaged her East Nashville, then she would be covered.
However, more than a year after the March 3rd tornado outbreak, her home’s damage has barely been touched.
Krantz described her uphill battle with insurance to News 2. “Navigating between different contractors and what the insurance can [and] will do, and then when you get a general contractor, they’re not actually doing the stuff themselves,” Krantz said. “The whole time I have to make calls. It’s hundreds of hours.”
Krantz and her roommate, Quincy Ellison, are still living in temporary housing. Both said they’re unsure when they’ll be able to move back into their house.
“We said about eight months ago that maybe it would start in two months, but two months hit and we’re like maybe another two months,” Ellison said.
According to the Tennessee Department of Commerce and Insurance, at least 41 people filed complaints against their insurance companies for not covering repairs since the March 3rd tornado. Also in that timeframe, more than $10 million were returned to Tennessee residents who the department found were unlawfully denied claims.
Meanwhile, DarKenya Waller with the Legal Aid Society of Middle Tennessee and the Cumberlands said her agency has encountered clients who didn’t realize they weren’t fully covered.
“We still see people who haven’t and usually in those circumstances, they are people who are underinsured,” Waller said. “Now that’s not to say that if you didn’t seek out an attorney who could advocate on your behalf that you might not be able to find some resolution, but oftentimes, it is where the particular disaster was not covered by their insurance.”
Waller recommends homeowners read policies thoroughly before picking an insurance provider.
“A lot of people will just say ‘oh yeah, you know, I’ll take the insurance’, but don’t actually take the time to read it to see what’s in it,” Waller said. “And you want to look for those natural disasters being covered and specifically say flood, tornado, or whatever the issue may be.”
Trying to save money might actually end up costing you more in the long run, she added.
“The old adage you get what you pay for. And sometimes you do want to just make that extra effort to ensure you are covered. You may never need it, and God willing you won’t, but if you do you want to make sure that you have gone ahead and made the investment so that you don’t find yourself a year later trying to get repairs done on your home,” Waller said.
What can you do if you find yourself struggling to get repairs from your insurance company? Waller suggested getting legal help from the Legal Aid Society or from an attorney recommended by the Nashville Bar Association. Waller said an attorney can tell you what your policy should pay for and can also advocate on your behalf.
Krantz said she plans to take that step and find an attorney. But at the end of the day, she doesn’t feel like she got what she paid for.
“It almost seems like them trying to not tell us certain things. You know, what they’re required to do, what our rights are, what they’re not required to do. They’re very unclear. And takes a long time to communicate. And it’s confusing,” Krantz said.