Nova Scotia

Glace Bay woman says insurance company accused her of damaging her own home

Claims manager initially said insurance would cover cost of replacing roof, homeowner says, but then accused her of tampering with shingles and refused to pay.

Debbie Clow says she was initially told insurance would cover cost of replacing roof

Debbie Clow says the powerful Thanksgiving Day storm displaced many shingles from her roof. (Jennifer Ludlow/CBC)

A Cape Breton woman whose home was damaged during the Thanksgiving Day flood says she is facing thousands of dollars in repairs after her insurance company refused to pay for roof repairs and accused her of pulling off shingles. 

Debbie Clow's basement was damaged after the sewer backed up during the flood, ruining many of her belongings. She said the roof over the family home and garage was also damaged by the high winds.

Debbie Clow said she was to meet with the insurance representative to get a cheque for the roof, but was instead accused of fraud. (Submitted)

Clow said her insurance company, Antigonish Farmers Mutual, sent a claims manager to her home in Glace Bay two days after the storm.

Clow's claim was approved to cover $5,000 worth of damage in her basement caused by the sewer backup, she said, and the claims manager also went outside and took photos of her roof.

High winds

The insurance company said it would pay to replace the roof, Clow said, a cost of upwards of $8,000. Clow said the roof hasn't leaked but with a number of shingles lifted and missing, she worries water problems aren't too far away.

Clow said she was to meet with the insurance representative to get a cheque for the roof, but was instead accused of fraud.

"He showed up the following Friday and looked at the pictures he had taken a week ago and looked at our roof and there were three or four more [shingles] missing. He said that we purposely took them off," Clow said.

Debbie Clow says her insurance company is unfairly accusing her of contributing to the damage to her roof shingles. (CBC)

Clow lives in the Tablehead area of Glace Bay near a cliff and because of the close proximity to the water she said her home often gets rocked with high winds.

"We live right on the water. We get wind on both sides of the roof. There is more of the roof gone now."

She asked the insurance company if it would still pay for the other side of her roof, since it only accused her of tampering with one side.

"He said, 'No, your claim is totally denied,'" Clow said.

Antigonish Farmers Mutual declined an interview with CBC News, saying it cannot comment on individual cases.

Damage estimated at $46K

Clow said the cost of flood damage to her home and lost belongings totals $46,000.

"I don't have the money to go to a lawyer to go fight this; and do I have the strength in me to go do that anyway? I'm really emotional as it is and wore out."

Clow said she has received a cheque from the Salvation Army to replace clothing for herself, her husband and her two daughters.

She has also applied for government disaster assistance funding.