We’ve lived in this house for just under 20 years.
When we moved in, we put up all new vinyl siding, tore off the old roof and put up a new one. We installed fencing around the property. We got rid of the beaten up sliding doors that went from the dining room to deck with French doors, replaced the front door (the first time). In total, it was about $30,000 worth of work. Then there were appliances like washer, drying, refrigerator, stove. And of course, the water heater popped. Eight years later (that’s about the longest a water heater lasts), it popped again and we replaced it again. We had to replace the water heater again this year, too.
As for the water pump in the well (it’s almost 500 feet underground), the lightning loves it. It’s the combination of iron and water — a magnet for electric. We replaced the output for the septic system and all the pipes that ran to it because the people who had lived here rolled over them with a truck and crushed them.
We added a sump and a pump and French drains so the basement would stop flooding. We had to rebuild the well because it was old and it needed it. We replaced most of the pipes in the house and redid the electricity twice (two new circuit boards, if you please).
This year, we replaced the bathroom which urgently needed it and all the plumbing from the upper floor to the basement (time turns copper piping into rust). We replaced the front door (again) and added a chair lift.
The chimney still needs repointing and the west wall of the house has been beaten by storm-after-storm since the end of the winter. This summer has been both the wettest and hottest on record.
Remember climate changes? Guess what? It’s not “on the way.” It’s here.
Despite being just on the edge of out of money, we nonetheless managed to get through each thing that had to be done. We consolidated our biggest credit cards which had been used to pay for these fixes. I was counting on at least one year of breathing easier. I was pretty sure the chimney would survive until spring unless a tree falls on it … and THAT is one of the things insurance covers.
I did not count on having one wall of the house turn into mush and mold. It was the wind-driven rain, falling trees, and branches. The gutters are so bent from being whacked by falling branches they no longer do anything useful.
This year, we ran out of money. It took 20 years, but the house got older and we got older. And then there was getting rid of the invasion of the field mice and the ants. Living in the woods is a mixed bag.
What’s astonishing is how your home insurance never covers ANYTHING. Except when lightning hit the pole in front of the house (that was a really LOUD noise!) and knocked out two computers and a router. Insurance paid for that. Otherwise, they have collected some very big money from us for a long time and never paid anything to us.
I think they owe us because it isn’t wear-and-tear. It’s storm, wind, and crashing tree limbs. But, we don’t get to make that decision. It’s entirely up to them. When lightning hit the well, they said it wasn’t part of the house so we had to pay for it. How could it not be part of the house? But, that’s what they said. They agreed it was lightning, but not their problem. OUR problem. As usual.
Apparently, the only way your well is covered is if it happens to be inside your house and wells are NOT inside anyone’s house.
We are out of money. We had a nest egg. It got eaten. Houses always need work. No matter how much you do — and we’ve done more than I’ve bothered to list — there’s always more. The windows were good when we got here, but they are old now. We replaced the horrible old rugs with fake wood floors, but it wasn’t installed well and it needs to be redone using better materials and a much better installer.
Now, there are changes in the climate. These will eventually affect everyone. Do you think insurance companies are going to cover climate change damage?
Would you like to put down a few bets on that one?
Insurance companies are not in business to cover you no matter what the advertisements say on television. They are in business to make money by NOT paying you while proving whatever happened, it’s your problem.
Basically, they cover three things: lightning that damages things IN your house (like having it burn down), falling trees, and fire. Everything else is “wear and tear.” With climate change beating up everyone’s house, there’s going to be a lot of damage — and it won’t be their job to fix it because they don’t fix. They collect.
So maybe you understand when I say homelessness is not on my agenda, I’m too old and too sick. We are both too old and if we are unlucky enough to not get the Republicans out of office, it’s going to get worse. Remember: Social Security and Medicare are insurance too — and if they decide to stop payments, we will all be in very deep shit.