BY ANGIE JACKSON firstname.lastname@example.org
Traverse City Record-Eagle
---- — GRAWN — Lance Reed thought the worst was over after he narrowly dodged bullets that tore through his Grawn mobile home during a neighbor’s shootout with police.
But Reed is beside himself later because his insurance company won’t cover the damage, he said. He’s already dumped $1,500 into repairs of five bullet holes, and he his wife Cheryl don’t have the money to pay for necessary fixes.
“They’re screwing me pretty much,” Reed said. “What am I paying my money for? For nothing.”
Reed said he pays $560 a year for home insurance through Auto Owners. The mobile home was a dump when he bought it in 2010 and fixed it up -- a choice he said he made to avoid taking out a mortgage.
Auto Owners told Reed bullet damage doesn’t fit into the nine perils outlined in his policy, he said, which include fire, smoke, flood, windstorm, riot or civil commotion, vandalism or mischief, damage by burglary, aircraft and vehicle damage.
He was surprised to hear his coverage is limited because his manufactured home is more than 20 years old. Reed said insurance company representatives didn’t explain that to him when he signed up.
“They didn’t specifically state anything to me like that,” he said.
A spokesman for Auto Owners said the company is handling Reed’s claim and planned to send him a letter explaining their position. He declined to comment about what is and isn’t covered under his policy.
To make matters worse, Reed’s wife has lung and brain cancer and has a few months left to live. Recent events have “pushed her over the edge,” he said.
“She wakes up with nightmares because she thinks a bullet’s coming through the house. And come to find out insurance is not going to cover it ... she’s like, ‘I can’t deal with this’,” Reed said.
Christian nonprofit Freedom Builders repairs homes for disadvantaged people on a volunteer basis. Executive director Skip Brown said about 70 percent of the people they help own manufactured homes. Generally, the older the mobile home, the more limitations the insurance company puts on them, Brown said.
“I don’t want to stereotype all insurance companies, but there are some people in that industry marketing to that group of folks that don’t always explain what they’re covering or not covering,” Brown said.
Reed plans to seek assistance. He wants other mobile home owners to be aware of his situation so they can begin asking questions.
“Because I didn’t, and look where I ended up,” he said.