A month ago fire destroyed a home on Thibodeaux Lane north of Sulphur. The homeowners say they are shocked to discover that their insurance does not cover fire.
Homeowner Robert Rice says it makes no sense to him since the policy satisfied the requirements of his mortgage holder.
Imagine if you think you have homeowners insurance and your house burns down-- then your insurance agent says you're not covered. Rice says going public may not help his situation. But he hopes it can save somebody else from experiencing the same devastating loss.
It was September 22 when his house north of Sulphur burned down. Robert and Mary Rice lived in the house originally bought by his mother who died in 2009. Robert was her heir and they lost everything. "It consumed the whole house. The whole back side of the house was completely gone. The upstairs game room collapsed on the lower part. All the items in the house were a total loss."
Robert says the house was mortgaged-- and of course anyone who borrows money to buy a home is required by the lender to maintain homeowners insurance to cover such a loss. Rice was shocked when his agent informed him his policy did not cover fire-- only wind and hail. "I'm just floored by it. I'm wondering how many other people are sitting holding policies. They have a policy in their file box that, when something happens, they're going to pull that policy out and find out, they're not covered like they thought they were."
He finds it even more ironic that he received a notice saying the existing policy will cancel October 28 of this year-- and though it only covers wind and hail the cancellation notice itself is captioned "dwelling fire." Said Rice, "Even though it says dwelling fire policy it does not cover fire. It covers wind and hail. I have $160,000 worth of insurance coverage for a hail storm to tear my house up."
Apparently Rice's mortgage holder has its own insurance policy to cover cases like this. But for Rice it means no coverage for the contents. "Nothing for me. I'm not thinking Theresa or KPLC or any of the news agencies can do anything for me.But they can get the word out to people to look at your insurance policies, to make sure that these insurance policies are what they said they are-- to call your insurance agent and make sure you're still covered by the same thing. Because they will drop it, they will change it and they won't tell you until it's too late. Until you can't do anything about it."
The insurance agent, Timothy Dupont, says the original policy that did cover fire was canceled in 2009 for non payment.
But he says rice wouldn't be covered anyway because it's in the name of his late mother.
And he confirms the policy in effect does only cover wind and hail even though the cancellation notice calls it "dwelling fire."