WEATHER

Insurance holders complain of difficult claims process post Irene

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Water poured into Brenda Pelzer's house during the storm, which also knocked out her power. When the water was up to her calf, she wasn't worried about insurance.

Damage in the D.C. region wasn't as bad as in Vermont, pictured here, but thousands still are filing claims with insurers to have damage covered. (Photo: Associated Press)

“I had every expectation that my house was covered. Every,” Pelzer says. She has hurricane and cyclone insurance.

As soon as power came back on, she and her niece grabbed two shop vacs and went to work, pumping out over 100 gallons of water.

Once the water was gone, she called her insurance company, only to be told water damage wasn't covered.

“If there wasn't a hurricane, then I wouldn't be facing or going through what I'm going through now,” Pelzer says in disbelief.

Tens of thousands of people in D.C., Maryland and Virginia have filed damage claims on their homes and cars in the wake of Hurricane Irene. Insurance companies and their adjusters are overloaded.

“The adjuster I talked to, he was very obnoxious,” she complains. “It just seems to me that they are truly in the business of just taking our money but not giving us any justice in the end.”

Pelzer had to have all the carpet and padding and more than two feet of drywall from the entire perimeter of her bottom floor removed. Damages to her house total about $10,000.

But Pelzer wouldn’t takes no for an answer. Originally denied even an adjuster's visit, she persisted and one is coming to her place Tuesday evening.

Other insurance holders complain of robo-calls, a lack of adjusters and uncertainty over whether the money they're paying out of pocket will ever be reimbursed.

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