Jan. 18, 2015 – “The best day of my life was when I signed those documents and was welcomed into the USAA family over a month ago”, Tony Wilson, an U.S. Air Force Retired 100% disabled military veteran said.
Just a few days ago Mr. Wilson purchased a home in Prince Georges County, Maryland; only a few miles south of Andrews Air Force Base. As a first time homebuyer, using a VA Home Loan program, the disabled veteran signed loan and title documents on a Thursday evening of January 8th, 2015 and received his keys to the home. What he walked into was a nightmare.
On Friday evening of January 9th when he walked into the 5 bedroom, 3 bath 2,556 feet home in order to measure the windows for drapes/window treatments, the veteran discovered that the floors were soaking wet and the countertops and appliances along with the walls were all drenched in water. He approximated that he was stepping in over 8 inches of water on the floor. Reportedly there was also water shooting out of copper pipes located within the roof panels and they did not appear to be wrapped or insulated. The home was soaked in almost all rooms down through to the hardwood floors and beyond and onto the concrete slab. Pieces of sheet rock had fallen from the roof and there was insulation foam floating throughout the home including in the fireplace.
The disabled veteran immediately reached out to USAA by phone asking for help and was told by the casualty and claims professional on the phone that this was sounding more like a problem for the previous homeowners and that USAA would not be able to help. Stressed from this exchange, the veteran reached out to private claims adjustors who then contacted a cleanup crew to come in and remediate the damages.
“I never in my wildest dreams, thought that this could happen to me” the veteran said. “I served my country honorably and signed up with USAA as their TV commercials tell of the stories of how they cover veterans for insurance for many years and I guess it’s just a commercial as this is real life and possible insurance bad faith is here these days”. How I to expect that was the previous owners would turn off the heat and let the pipes freeze just before I moved in, he said.
It is noted that recent winter temperatures in Maryland have averaged highs of 28 with lows overnight in the teens (as low as 14 with an index of -5 in some cases).
What is also interesting is that the veteran is disappointed because right before purchasing the home, he left another large named insurance company that he had been with for over 15 years in order to go to USAA. He states that he established a bank account at USAA as was looking forward to retirement planning with them, purchased both home and auto insurance from the company and just thought that the company much like their advertisement campaign targeting veterans would make for a great relationship. What he says he receives in his words, is less than stellar representation.
As of this print, an adjustor has been assigned to the claim but not a single representative from USAA has been out to the property since the incident occurred just 7 days ago. (Correction, the local adjustor Rene Maldonado, cancelled the first two appointments and showed up to assess the damages on Thursday January 16th, 2015).
The claimant says that it looks as though USAA is more concerned about whose fault it is and if the previous owners were negligent or not or who’s on first. The first-time homebuyers says that he is “more concerned about when he can move into his new home and get on with his life.
We should also note that as of this writing, the veteran was able to show me a receipt that he pre-paid one full year of homeowner’s coverage with USAA. No word from USAA as of this post.