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'Absolutely Check Your Policies': Breezy Point Couple Learns COVID's Effect On Insurance The Hard Way

This story was originally published on May 14, 2021

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) - In nearly 30 years, their lake view in Breezy Point never got old to Diane and Jim Williams.

"The ideal life up there where everyone else is striving to get to," Diane Williams joked.

They've spent the last year and a half striving to get back.

"I stood up and smelled a wiff of smoke as if someone had blown out a candle," she said.

In January 2020, Jim Williams, who has dementia and is disabled, left a chair too close to a small heater in the garage.

"It was strictly an accident but devastating," Diane Williams said. "The house ended up being condemned by the city."

The Williamses assumed insurance would cover the cost to rebuild.

President of United Claim Service, Mike Pakkala, is a public adjustor who told WCCO he is working with at least a dozen others in similar circumstances

"I would tell you in May or June of 2020 the limit of Diane's policy was adequate. Now it's up to $100,000 short," Pakkala said.

He calls right now the perfect recipe for problems between COVID construction delays and building material prices through the roof.

"Even if you're insurance to 100% of value unless you have a policy that has substantial percentage of additional coverage in the event the basic amount is inadequate you're not going to have enough to rebuild," he said.

Pakkala encourages homeowners to make their policies stay at 100% of replacement cost value.

The Insurance Federation of Minnesota also recommends inflation riders on your policy that will offer more protection. Bottom line he says talk to your agent to be sure you're not underinsured.

Because, as the Williamses learned, it's too late once disaster strikes.

"Absolutely check your policies," Diane Williams said.

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