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We did our final walk-through the day before and everything was fine an in working order. We showed up at closing the next day around 2:30 and finalized the paperwork. About 2 hours later, we arrived at our new home to find that someone broke in & stole all of the copper piping in the house. We were planning on moving in right away, so called to have a reputable plumber start the repairs a few days later. We paid around $ 20k out of pocket, basically using our money saved for the move & othe repairs. I’ve been battling w/ the 2 insurance companies to get reimbursed (mine & the previous owner’s). Claims are open for both companies. My insurance company says it should be on the previous owner’s company since the loss occurred prior to closing (neighbors saw cars in the driveway & lights on around 11 PM the night before). The previous owner’s company is saying that the loss wasn’t discovered until after we owned the property and therefore it should be mine that covers it. My company is being responsive, but the other company is not. Phone calls go straight to voicemail and 0 return calls. No answer to emails, etc. The only way we can get a hold of anyone is to “0 out” to the operator who forwards us to someone unfamiliar w/ the case that can only read what’s in the file (so getting very little info back and it just keeps dragging out). Is there clear line as to which company should be responsible for reimbursing us for the repairs? It’s been over 3 months and we still have not been able to move in and are carrying 2 mortgages/utilities. I’ve already filed a complaint w/ the PA Commonwealth against the othe company for not cooperating, and I really don’t want to hire an attornery and have this drag out for 2 more years. Any advice or recommendations would be greatly appreciated!!! Thanks!
Yes, I have a police report, but it was from when I called them the evening after our closing. My company was considering covering it & going after them to get reimbursed, until we learned that the previous owners opened a claim also. Several weeks ago, my adjuster actually talked to teh adjuster from the other company(she randomly answered the operator and not the direct line) and she agreed that they should probably be responsible and was going to look into it further. However, she required that my company submit an official letter of denial stating that they’re not going to cover it. 3 weeks after they got the letter, they’re back to saying they’re not responsible. At this point, I really don’t care who covers it. I do have a Home Warranty that I purchased, but from what I’ve read, it doesn’t sound like it would be covered under that. I am going to look into the escrow option, but I doubt there’s enough in there to cover it. Thank you all for you

4 Thoughts on I purchased a home several months ago. The night before closing, someone broke in & stole all of the copper.?
  1. Reply
    Art Vandelay
    May 7, 2013 at 10:15 pm

    This is an interesting (though frustrating for you) situation that the courts rule on both ways. In general, if the time of the occurrence cannot be clearly pinned down, then general practice is that the discovery of the damage is the trigger and your carrier would be responsible. However, if the damage incident can be more clearly identified (as it appears to be in your case) then the other carrier should be held responsible as they were providing coverage at the time of the incident.

    I think you are right in pursuing the other carrier, but unfortunately I think it may require you to retain an attorney to get them off the mark and getting you reimbursed. This may not cost you more than a few hundred or less to have your attorney send them a nasty-gram, but it should get the ball rolling.

  2. Reply
    May 7, 2013 at 10:45 pm

    Talk to a lawyer. Unfortunately, that is the only way you are going to get the insurance companies to respond and stop giving you the runaround.

  3. Reply
    Glenn S
    May 7, 2013 at 11:01 pm

    The other persons insurance company is not required to respond to you because you are not their policy holder. They owe you no fiduciary consideration. Your insurance should pay for the repairs and then try and collect from the other insurance company…..This process is called subrogation and is common place when there is a question of who is responsible for a loss.

    It sounds like your insurance is acting in “bad faith” by not covering your loss. You need to get an attorney and sue your insurance company. You will get legal and attorneys fees back when you sue your company. It doesn’t matter which insurance company suffered the loss. You had insurance at the time and your company should have covered the loss and then gone after the other insurance company.

    Home Warranty????? Theft or vandalism is not covered under a home warranty.

  4. Reply
    bridal connection
    May 7, 2013 at 11:46 pm

    Do you have a police report? If the neighbors saw lights on and cars in the driveway at 11pm the night before, did they call the police? You have one problem and that is the walk-though where everything was okay and you signed off on it. Those signatures legally say that you approved.

    With that said, are you sure that the house was insured prior to buying it? Although most lenders require a property to be insured, the seller sometimes lets their policy lapse. That may be one reason why the previous insurance company is giving you the run around. Your policy would not be in effect until it was verified that you were the new owner so there are a couples of days here where possibly no insurance was in existence.

    Do you know if there was a home warranty in place? It would have either been something you purchased and affective the day of closing, or the seller would have given you. If so, you would have been responsible only for the service call ($ 50) and the rest would have had to come out of either the seller or the agent’s commission or both combined.

    Call Escrow and see if there were any monies left in the file since every bill gets paid through escrow. If there is, then escrow would have to get signatures of all parties involved to issue a check to either you or the company doing repairs. If no money is left in the file, then you would have to go to court. You can do this on your own without an attorney and the self help legal dept can help you. Make sure when you file you name everyone including the insurance company, sellers agent, sellers broker. This puts them on notice to be careful next time something like this could arise and the responsiblity would fall back to them. Gives you and them something to think about……

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