Dealing With Insurance Claims

Many Angelina County families have felt the impact of the damage that hurricane Rita left behind. And it didn't take long for most insurance companies to send adjusters out to the area to survey the damage. But when one family was told how long it would take for their insurance company to send out an adjuster, they couldn't believe what they were hearing.

For Sheila McDonald and her husband Joe, it's the only home they have known.

"We were 17 years old, we were seniors in high school... been high school sweethearts, and we built this house, this is our home, this is the only thing we've ever known as home and so it's really devastating to not have it anymore." says McDonald.

Like so many other Rita victims, Sheila called her insurance company the Monday after the storm. What they told her caught her completely off guard.

"The insurance company actually told me that it could be up to three to six months before they would have an adjuster come out basically because this area was not declared a disaster area."

But whether or not your community is in a disaster area should not have a big effect on when an insurance adjuster visits your home.

"When the disaster area comes in is where FEMA... the people who did not have any insurance... That because of a flood, because of the wind storm itself sustained damage that was not covered, to help these people go back by providing aid to them." says insurance agent Don Briley.

Sheila and her husband then contacted a consumer advocacy group, who in turn contacted the media as well as State Representative Jim Mcreynolds' office.

It was soon after that Sheila received a call from her insurance company.

"Once we did talk with someone else with our insurance company, they assured me that someone had gave me the wrong information and they were going to make things better."

In fact, someone was out the very next day to assess the damage to her home. The home has been declared a total loss. The McDonald's mortgage company has since received the insurance check.

Their insurance only covered what they owed on the house. Now, they'll have to rebuild, and start over from scratch.

Sheila McDonald told us they can rebuild their home, but they can't replace the memories she and her family have made there.