Homeowner struggles with damage claim

Homeowner struggles with damage claim

(WWBT) - An elderly disabled Richmond woman says she was injured and her furniture ruined when her ceiling collapsed.  That was three months ago, but the inside of Minnie Crumble's home is still covered in debris and getting worse with every rain fall.

Crumble blames the Insurance agency's handling of her damage claim.

The Hartford Insurance Company emailed NBC12 a brief statement on Thursday.

It reads in part, "We have been working with our customer to resolve the matter. However, it is our practice not to discuss specific customer information."

Crumble says she's been with the Hartford 15 years and never filed a claim. She feels abandoned when she needs coverage the most.

Crumble says she heard a loud crack coming from the ceiling and was knocked to the floor before she could run.

"All this stuff right here fell down on me and knocked me right in that door. Just covered me up, and I got to hollering, 'Get me out. Get me out,' " said Crumble.

She's been living in a hotel since April.  Red Cross covered two weeks of her stay she says before The Hartford stepped up to help. She says she's been threatened with eviction several times.

"They call me at the hotel telling me that the people don't want to pay for me to stay there anymore. That stresses me out too because I don't ever know when they are going to kick me out," said Crumble.

The dispute is over what caused the damage. The elderly woman, her nephew, and a contractor say it was wind damage.  She says The Hartford told them it was a nail pop and it will repair the ceiling but not the roof. Crumble says, "My reaction was shock. I feel like they should do what they are supposed to do. I feel like they should fix my roof. I feel like they should fix my inside and I feel like they should get my furniture."

Her nephew says the least the insurance company could have done is to install a tarp to prevent further damage until there's some resolution.

"That's the way I've always seen it done. The come in put a trap on the roof to preserve the house from any further damages. In this case, it doesn't seem like they really cared. I think Hartford is trying to get out of paying for these damages," said Freddie Stroman.

The contractor the family hopes to hire is also concerned and says Harford has stopped returning his calls.   He says the gutters have pulled away from the house.

"That proves there's been wind storm damage, and you see the roof all of the shingles that have been lifted. There is no way one nail pop will allow enough water to make a ceiling fall," said Stroman

The Hartford Insurance Company is not saying anything more except, "Claims service is our top priority. It is our practice not to discuss specific customer information."

Crumble says she received a check for $1,900 but hasn't cashed it. She says that will not cover much of anything. NBC 12 is still looking into this dispute and will keep you informed of what develops.

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