In Your Corner: Insurance Dispute

By Ryan Elijah

June 18, 2010 Updated Feb 20, 2009 at 3:38 PM EDT

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (Indiana's Newscenter)-- "it was scary", Heather Everage was sitting with her 4-year-old daughter watching television and she wasn't at all prepared for what happened next.

"I heard a loud crash, grabbed her and got away as fast as I could, then I went out and saw a truck on the porch".

The 18-year-old driver was talking on a cell phone when he tried to turn on 19th street, there was light snow on the ground and apparently his accelerator got stuck, causing him to slide nearly 200 feet before winding up on Heather's front porch.

Fortunately, no one was injured in the crash, but Heather's house sustained cracks in the stucco, a broken railing and wood planter and the front door won't close properly now. She submitted two estimates to the driver's insurance company, 21st Century insurance.

On January 16th, the company sent her a letter stating they would pay the claim minus a 50 percent "betterment" for new materials. In other words, they were asking Heather to pay 11-hundred dollars of the 45-hundred dollar estimate. "I was surprised because I thought it was a fair estimate".

Two different insurance agents in town told us Heather shouldn't have to pay anything for the repairs, we left a message with 21st Century which wasn't returned. The company asked Heather to sign a release in order to receive her settlement check, which she refused.

They have since sent an independent adjuster out a few weeks ago to have another look at the house, it still need repaired nearly 3 months after the crash. If you feel you've been wronged by an insurance estimate, the best path is to settle with the carrier, however, a consumer can file a complaint with the Indiana Insurance Commissioner if they feel the settlement isn't fair. We'll continue to monitor Heather's situation.

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