Family fighting insurance company after home burns down - WNEM TV 5

Family fighting insurance company after home burns down

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A local family had their home ravage by a fire last spring. Now they are suffering a new housing tragedy at the hand of their insurance company.

The insurance company did not give them enough money to rebuild their home. When the family complained, the company cut off their emergency housing money.

"It's unexpected expense after unexpected expense," said Michael Sepanak, homeowner.

Sepanak thought he would be buying toys for his kids this Christmas. Instead he is buying winter clothes and shows.

He and his family lost their house and all of their belongings in a fire this past spring. Sepanak said they thought insurance would cover the cost of rebuilding, but they didn't.

"They gave us $5,000 to help us get started, which it didn't really go very far," Sepanak said.

Sepanak said their insurance company was about $50,000 short of what it would actually cost to rebuild their house, which they had paid off.

"They put us up in a place for a few months and they decided to cut us off because I turned down their offer," Sepanak said.

Now he and his wife are back to paying rent, which is another added expense.

"Things that you thought you would be able to afford for Christmas you now have to put it on the back burner for a different Christmas," said Mercedes Sepanak, Michael's wife.

She said looking back, if she had the chance to consider different insurance policies she would.

"I would definitely look over the policy again," she said.

Insurance experts, like Stewart Hargrove with the Insurance Advocacy Group, offered tips everyone needs to know.

  • Work with an independent agent rather than going directly to the insurance company. That way you could rely on the agent for assistance and clarification.
  • A cheaper price on insurance does not mean you are getting the same coverage. If you don't have the proper coverage you could pay a lot more.
  • Make your insurance provider go over your insurance contract in detail. Ask questions.
  • Make sure you talk to your agent about the ways you are protecting your belongings.

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