Detached Garage Fire Reached Limit – Other Structures, Pavers/retaining wall Matthew Jenks asked 8 months ago
Detached Garage Fire Reached Limit – Other Structures, Pavers/retaining wall

Hello and thank you for your time,

I’m looking for advice after I had a total loss detached garage fire in February and came to find out my garage was vastly under insured. I bought this home, my first, in 2021 and unfortunately didn’t know the the garage would be only covered for 10% of the home policy (which is vastly short of recovering the losses). Thankfully the home is alright but I had pavers and a retaining wall around the garage area that were destroyed in the fire and clean up. The pavers and retaining wall lead to my home. The claim on the Other Structure (garage) reached its limit easily.

My adjuster has been very distant, has showed lack of attention to detail throughout and went months without responding to questions I had. Recently he went on leave without notice and a new adjuster took over. It hasn’t felt like these people have “been on my side.”

My contractor has a focus on home restoration after events like this and has been adamant that the pavers/retaining wall should be covered as a part of the Dwelling portion of my claim. He states because the retaining wall and pavers lead to my front door, this should be included in the Dwelling. The insurance adjuster states differently and that they don’t cover any of this.

Does anyone have insight into Other Structures and coverage around things like the paver walkway and landscaping? It feels like we are going around in circles and I’m not sure whats true any more. I’m hoping the pavers/retaining wall are included into the dwelling so I can afford to repair them but I’m not sure if it’s a lost cause. If they should be included in the Dwelling (like my contractor states they should), do you have advice on how to get to that point with the insurance adjuster?

I appreciate any insight and assistance in navigating this. Thank you for your time and response!

1 Answers
Answer for Detached Garage Fire Reached Limit – Other Structures, Pavers/retaining wall United Policyholders Staff answered 7 months ago


We wish we could say your experience is unique, however, it is very common for a loss victim to perceive their insurance company and/or adjuster as being adversarial and nothing like the trustworthy “good hands” one sees advertised.

There is a strong argument (particularly b/c your contractor agrees) that the paving stones and retaining wall can fairly be considered as part of the primary dwelling and thereby covered by that category of benefits. It sounds like the paving stones and retaining wall lead directly to and are connected to your house and as such are part of your dwelling not a part of any outlying building. Here you have a logical argument in support of the position you want your insurer to accept, and you have a professional who agrees with that argument.

However, the specific wording of your policy matters. Some policies include “attached structures” in the definition of dwelling and then go on to note that “structures that are connected to the dwelling by only a fence, utility line or similar connection are not considered attached structures.” Such policies will cover these sorts of marginally attached structures under the “other structures” category. But other homeowner insurance policies may define “other structures” as those “separated from the dwelling by a clear space.” If you have such wording and if the paving stones and retaining wall are separated by a “clear space” and do not go directly to your home, you may be in a more difficult situation.

Re-read your policy paying attention to the definitions of “dwelling” and “other structures” to see if there are any other arguments you can make to help convince your adjuster that a connected retaining wall and paving stones that lead directly to your home are part of the primary dwelling coverage.

If you want to find a claim professional or lawyer to help, consider using UP’s find help directory to start looking for insurance recovery attorneys, PAs, and other professionals in your region.

Good luck!