House burned, underinsured – remodeled without notifying insurance. Ulrich Kirkegaard asked 8 months ago
House burned, underinsured – remodeled without notifying insurance.

Aloha, our house on burned down to the ground on 8/8/23 during the Maui Lahaina wildfire; our insurance has so far played nice; but I’m finding it difficult to interpret the different coverages incl. the policy states that we need notify the insurance after a 5% improvement to the dwelling, well we pretty much rebuilt the entire house and lived there for 4 months before it burned down and no, we didn’t notify the insurance.

While the policy includes $250K for Dwelling A the actual rebuild cost will be more like $500K and so we do have an extension/expansion to the policy of 25% but not sure if that counts when we didn’t notify them of the improvement.

We have other questions as well and would like to connect with an expert to discuss these if possible.

Any advise is greatly appreciated during this challenging time.

1 Answers
Amy Bach Amy Bach Staff answered 7 months ago

Aloha and thank you for your patience. Given that your structure was underinsured (very likely regardless of whether you told them about the remodel or not) and given your catastrophic loss and your need for all available benefits, and given that you paid a premium for the extended coverage, you have strong arguments that the insurer should pay the extended benefits. No need for you to volunteer that you didn’t alert them, though we assume that by now that fact has been discussed with them. If they are not willing to pay the extended benefits, we suggest you file a consumer complaint with the Hawaii Insurance Division and consult with an attorney who specializes in assisting insurance policyholders. Here’s a place to start: https://uphelp.org/sponsors/.