Allstate Insurance refuses to pay $23,000 claim

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By Jim Carr By Jim Carr

CHANDLER, Ariz. -- A Chandler man says Allstate insurance is sticking him with a $23,000 bill.

Allstate insurance is one of the biggest carriers around. That may be one reason why so many consumers feel comfortable with Allstate. Paul Christensson says he felt comfortable, until he had a water problem.

Christensson says when he and his family moved from out of state, they felt right at home in their new Arizona house.

"I would call it our dream home, I mean it has everything we've ever wanted," he said.

What they really like is having a backyard swimming pool. But recently, Christensson says the pool pipe burst in the middle of the night, sending a steady stream of water toward his house.

That surge of water drained into the basement window and went straight into the basement, causing nearly $15,000 in water damage.

"It was a disaster, there was probably shin deep in water, mud and there was glass everything," he said.

But Christensson says he wasn't worried. He was in good hands with Allstate Insurance, his insurance carrier.

You've seen the commercial saying, "You need an Allstate agent, someone who makes it their business to protect you, it's Allstate, are you in good hands?"

Christensson says he reported the basement flood to Allstate right away and Allstate immediately contacted and sent out a water restoration company to start cleaning up all that water and mud. But after the cleaning crew was done, Christensson says he got a disturbing phone call from Allstate.

"It was the lady who had been assigned to us and she said, 'Sorry, your claim has been denied.' And we were just floored, absolutely floored," he said.

And with that, Christensson was stuck with the not only $15,000 in water damage he was also stuck with a $6,800 bill from the water restoration company that Allstate sent out.

"How many homes in Arizona are covered by Allstate that might have pools that have this weird exclusion? It's just baffling to me that they could get away with this," Christenssonsaid.

3 On Your Side got involved, but the good hands people didn't want to talk to us about Christensson's issue, saying they don't talk about individual claims.

However, 3 On Your Side did hear from the Insurance Information Institute based out of New York.

They told us that swimming pool floods like Christensson’s are not covered by insurance companies, they're just not.

In fact, they say even if Christensson would have purchased flood insurance, his damages still would not have been covered because flooding from swimming pools are simply excluded.

Christensson says he wants all homeowners to remember that and that commercial.

"It pains us every time we see an Allstate commercial now and they say ‘you're in good hands and guaranteed claim service,’" he said. "We laugh, it's really unreal."

This is a great reminder that if you own a home and you have a swimming pool that breaks and leaks into your house, you probably won't be covered. Allstate insurance could have done a much better job of explaining the matter, but they chose to take a hands-off approach.