Here we go again. A couple of weeks ago, I had to replace the front door to my rental property. Yesterday, I got a call from my tenant for another issue. It appears there was a wet area on the wall and she could not determine where the water was coming from. This same problem happened about 2 months ago and went away.

I called American Home Shield to check out the problem and see if they could repair it. American Home Shield offers a home warranty to cover failure to major components in your home. For my house, it costs about $350 a year and each service call is $55. The component has to have been in proper working order prior to the failure in order for the repair to be covered.

Turns out, when I had hardwood flooring installed about 2 years ago, they removed the toilet to put flooring in the bathroom and did not reinstall something in the base of the toilet causing there to be a small leak each time the toilet was flushed. Whatever they did wrong finally failed and caused all the water to run out of the bottom of the toilet. Since the toilet was not properly installed, American Home Shield denied the repair. The technician chose to replace the wax seal as a courtesy.

Now, I have to replace the carpet in the living room next to the bathroom that flooded and the hardwood floors (laminate) that have warped in the bathroom.

I'm considering filing a claim under my landlord’s policy to see if it will be a covered loss. Most insurance companies only cover losses that are sudden and accidental. Since I don’t know how long this has been happening, I’m not sure it will be covered. If it is a covered loss, I will only be out of my $500 deductible. If it’s not a covered loss, I have to pay for the cost of the repair and have a claim show up on my CLUE report.


What would you do???

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11 comments

  1. Caecilia42 // March 4, 2008 at 8:13 AM  

    I'm not sure what a CLUE report is and why it is bad to have a claim on it - will it adversely affect your insurance premiums?

    I think the wise thing to do is sit down and carefully read your insurance policy first. If it's unclear or you think you might be covered, call your agent. I was able to get advice from my agent on my renter's insurance without filing a formal claim. If your agent says it's not covered, and they're not obviously wrong, don't file.

    Sorry to hear you're facing this expense, and really sorry for your renter to have toilet water in her wall. Any health hazard there?

  2. Chitown // March 4, 2008 at 10:56 AM  

    I would try whatever you can to see if you can get it covered before coming out of pocket.

    Sorry that happened to you.

  3. Anonymous // March 4, 2008 at 1:41 PM  

    How much could the replacement cost be for a bathroom of wood and carpet for a single room? Replace that yourself.. put tile in the bathroom, carpet in the other room and don't file a claim.

    They will raise your rates and you'll pay for this disaster for a long time.

  4. Ernesto@InsuranceYak.com // March 4, 2008 at 5:06 PM  

    If you file a claim and they determine the cause was poor workmanship, that claim will get turned down as well.

    Even with $0 paid out and a denial of coverage, it will still show up on your CLUE report.

    Fix the problem, put tile in the bathroom and raise your rental property deductible to $1000.

  5. Katie Gregg // March 4, 2008 at 7:27 PM  

    I wouldn't even call the insurance company. Keep your CLUE as clean as possible.

  6. Anonymous // March 4, 2008 at 11:44 PM  

    is that smoke coming up put of the toilet? ewwwww!

  7. Four Pillars // March 4, 2008 at 11:49 PM  

    I think this is part of being a landlord unfortunately. Pay up and move on.

    I would cancel the American shield - what exactly do they cover, if anything?

    Also - great photo!

    Mike

  8. DogAteMyFinances // March 11, 2008 at 9:35 AM  

    I would sell.

    What a colossal headache and waste of time. Couldn't you make more money running a business or working more?

  9. Anonymous // March 11, 2008 at 12:20 PM  

    1. Laminate flooring should have never been installed in a bathroom, water will damage it instantly.

    2. If you don't know how to replace a toilet wax ring you should probably stop trying to be a landlord and maybe even a homeowner.

  10. Anonymous // March 12, 2008 at 5:42 PM  

    The person who installed the flooring (and apparently neglected to seal the toilet upon re-installation) may be responsible for your damages. If he was a licensed installer, he'll have liability insurance and they will likely cover this. You may have to sue, but it's worth checking into.

  11. Ed // March 12, 2008 at 6:07 PM  

    I agree with anonymous above. The people who installed the hardwood floor should have taken care of this. Since they didn't, they are liable. In this case, I would call them and talk about it.