The Struggle

Angela considered her Fridley home her safe haven, especially while she was caring for and protecting her loved ones. In March of 2019, many metro homeowners were experiencing flooding and water damage because of the rapidly melting snow.

For Angela, the 13th of March is remembered as the beginning of even greater disappointments. The sump pump couldn’t keep up. She and her family tried to stay on top of it—even with the help of another pump and several wet vacs—but couldn’t make progress. There was serious water damage in the entire, finished basement. Her brother was ill and living in the downstairs bedroom. He had oxygen machines and other equipment which were all moved with him upstairs to the main floor.

The Strategy

Arko was called in to assess the damage in the basement. After explaining the process and time frame, we got to work. Jake Merten and his crew removed and disposed of the vinyl tile, soaked carpet, padding and baseboard. Knowing that mold can grow quickly, we dried out the basement professionally with our specialized machines over a period of several days.

Angela was grateful for the help and wasn’t terribly worried about the basement because she knew she had insurance. True, she wasn’t sure what the insurance would cover but hoped it would put the house back to its original condition—or close—so they could return to a sense of normalcy.

Naturally, up to this time, her focus was on cleaning up the mess. Not until she heard more from her insurance agent did she realize that she was underinsured. If you’ve ever dealt with water damage, you know how disheartening it can be. Life is seriously disrupted, and everything is ruined including personal belongings and components of the house itself. But that was just the beginning of Angela’s troubles.

Because of the extensive damage, the estimate well exceeded what was available through insurance coverage. With the $10,000 insurance cap, Arko’s work for cleanup was eventually covered. However, the remaining dollar amount was not nearly enough to put the basement back together. In fact, they couldn’t even get started.

With work at a standstill, Angela realized there was another problem that she could not have foreseen. Since she had a mortgage on her property (as most of us do), the insurance money was paid to the mortgage company, not to her. The mortgage company would not release the funds to her to help rebuild.

As this became an even bigger problem, Angela was grateful for Jake who helped guide her through the claim process with the mortgage company. While she was dealing with a family crisis, she had no way of gaining ground with the mortgage company. The situation was more stressful than ever. Communication was a real issue.

The Solution

The water problem had been solved with Arko’s rapid response, and there will not be problems with mold or mildew because they acted quickly. That was comforting, but the question was how to get the money to start rebuilding. Clearly, the homeowner was stressed and needed an advocate.

With Jake’s 15 years of experience, he was able to get conversations started with the insurance company and the mortgage company. He served as the much-needed liaison to get accurate communication flowing. Thankfully, it didn’t end up in court, and they were able to clarify what was needed.

With $1,000 yet to be released, the situation is not yet totally resolved, and Arko will stay on the case to help her get the remainder of her money. Unlike many restoration companies, we don’t abandon our clients even when the scope of our work has been completed.

The Success

Angela is grateful to have the basement dried out and takes the comfort in knowing that mold and mildew will not be a problem. She urges people to check their insurance policies to see if they are underinsured because it’s highly stressful (and expensive) to get caught in that situation.

The primary battle has been that the remaining insurance money could cover materials for the rebuild if she could manage it as a DIY project, but the mortgage company insists on a licensed contractor doing the work. With the additional labor cost, that would not be feasible. Often, as homeowners, we do not consider that our mortgage company is a co-owner of our home and has a lot to say about how we proceed in cases like this.

She realized that, in her case, $10,000 was not nearly enough to cover a sump pump backup event. She cautions that the mortgage company will dictate how you rebuild and when you will receive the insurance money. Not surprisingly, after events of this past year, she recommends going for the highest coverage available!

She is thankful that Jake has helped with documentation and paperwork and stood by her to help get the money released from mortgage company. Decisions are not yet finalized about how and when to rebuild, but eventually, Angela will have a nice basement again. She is grateful that she had a qualified, caring contractor to walk the path with her to get the work done and to find resolution with the mortgage company.

Thank you, Angela, for allowing us to serve in this stressful time and to tell your story so that others might benefit. We are looking forward to the day you can send a picture of a finished basement! In the meantime, we’re here for you and wishing you the best life has to offer.