Home Insurance Nightmare


Jen showered away the soap on her legs. Standing in a cloud of steam, she wondered why she still heard a rush of water after she turned the shower off. As she opened the door to her shower stall, the rushing water sound got louder! Confused, she looked at the shower head, which she could see clearer now that the hot water steam had begun to dissipate. No water sprayed from the shower. As she stepped out of her shower stall onto her tiled bathroom floor, her foot landed in a pool of cold water!

The shock of icy water sent Jen into a panic. Following the sound, she beheld the nightmare of a waterfall that partially opened both the cabinet doors under her bathroom sink! Her bathroom vanity featured two sinks. Quickly, Jen glanced at the one her husband used and saw no water flowing from it. She opened the cabinet doors under her sink. Dozens of her cosmetics flowed out in a mini-waterfall onto her bathroom floor! She got down on her knees to see that water jetted from a shutoff valve. The small plastic tube that connected the shutoff valve to the turn on valve at her sink dangled as spraying water hit it. Jen quickly stood up. She turned on the cold water at her sink; no water flowed. Then, she turned on the hot water knob and warm water flowed into her sink.

Now two minutes into a flooding emergency, Jen understood that she must turn off the cold water valve under her sink. Quickly, she got down on her knees again and turned the valve to the left. But, that did not stop the spraying cold water! She turned and turned the valve and began to cry when this did not work. Jen turned the hot water valve to the left until she could not turn it anymore. Then, she got up to try the hot water knob at her sink. No hot water! She had confirmed that she did the right thing by turning the cold water valve to the left. Could a valve be installed backward? Frantically, she turned the cold water valve to the right. It turned and turned, but the water kept coming. Jen did not know what to do, and her tears added to inches of water on her tiled bathroom floor, water that flowed into her carpeted clothes closet and down onto her carpeted bedroom.

She grabbed her plastic trash can, emptied the trash in the water and shoved the can under the water leak, but that did little good. The water did not drip down. It sprayed out. She tried to shove small objects into the shutoff valve, but the force of the water blew these objects out. Now three minutes into a flooding emergency, she had not stopped the water! Freezing and scared, Jen slid into a pair of jeans and ran downstairs to shut the water to the house off at the valve in the downstairs hall closet. She turned the valve to the left until it was tight. As she stood up, she saw a cascade of water crash through the overhead light in her kitchen, located below the master bathroom. So much water had spilled that it had worked its way downstairs. She raced upstairs to confirm that she had stopped the leak and while she ran she realized that water might have spilled for the entire twenty minutes that she took her shower.

As she got to her bathroom, she saw water spraying in force from the useless shutoff valve! Jen raced downstairs to turn the main house shutoff valve to the right (could it be installed backwards?). After that, she ran back upstairs to see that she still had not stopped the leak! Sobbing, she reached for her smart phone to call a plumber. She got put on hold, asked to leave a message, and on her fifth attempt, she got a receptionist who told her a plumber would arrive in three days. Jen heard, “Would a morning or an afternoon appointment work for you?” She disconnected and telephoned her neighbors. On her second call, she got help. A man next door had a Water Meter “T” wrench. Within three minutes he shut off the water to Jen’s house at the street.

Jen contacted her homeowner’s insurance agent, who started a claim and helped her to find a reputable plumber. With an approved claim, the agent provided Jen with options on professionals to hire to mitigate the water damage by locating it, removing or drying it. Her tile floor and cabinets were demolished. Then, Jen was able to select new cabinetry and tile flooring. Jen got a new bathroom and parts of a new kitchen, but she had to pay thousands of dollars in costs beyond what her insurance would pay. She had her plumber to replace every water stop valve in her house with the best products; two at every sink and one behind each toilet. She bought a “T” wrench and learned how to use it to turn off water at the street.

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