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Churches dealing with insurance cancelation issues across US

Helping Hand Church of God in Christ in Encanto is still dealing with flood damage from January’s rain storms after their insurance claim was denied.

SAN DIEGO — A church in Encanto is still dealing with flood damage from January’s rain storms after their insurance claim was denied.

Water seeped into the Helping Hand Church of God in Christ through doorways, as well as a leak in the roof, making its way into the sanctuary,  bathroom, office and beyond during the heavy rain in January.

“There was water all over the place,” said Pastor Thomas Tisdale.

Pastor Tisdale immediately filed a claim with his insurance company, Guideone. They sent out an inspector, and within days of that visit, followed up with a letter, denying their claim.

“My assistant pastor and I just summated from the way he was acting, that they were going to deny our claim. And sure they did,” said Pastor Tisdale. 

Thanks to a donation from a member of the congregation, the carpet was replaced, but the same can’t be said about the roof. Pastor Tisdale has received estimates ranging from $45,000 to $70,000 for a new one, something they can’t afford.

“We’re a small church, and the congregation does very well as far as keeping our church going. But we don’t have 40,000 or 50 or 60,000 laying around,” said Pastor Tisdale.

CBS8 has been investigating a similar story over at Greater Center Church of God in Christ in Mount Hope.

RELATED: Insurance company drops San Diego church’s policy after viewing satellite images

They too are dealing with insurance issues. Their insurance from Guideone was abruptly canceled based on satellite images claiming their roof was bad, even though Sidney Buggs, the pastor there, says that’s not the case.

“Satellite!? How can they see the condition of a roof from a satellite,” said Pastor Buggs.

In order to get coverage elsewhere, Pastor Buggs had to take out an 80,000 dollar loan for a new roof and new policy, triple what he had been paying.

RELATED: San Diego church spends $80,000 after insurance company drops them over satellite images

CBS8 reached out to Guideone and a spokesperson said they could not comment.

So, we reached out to a broker who specializes in church insurance.

He told CBS8, like we’re seeing with homeowners insurance, companies that cover churches are becoming more selective when it comes to what they will or won’t cover. They’re also canceling policies, and raising rates both in California and nationwide.

As for Pastor Tisdale, regardless of his claim denial, he’s hoping his insurance stays intact, saying his focus now is to secure enough funds for a new roof before the next big rainstorm hits.

“So, we either have to do some innovating things, like trying to get a grant, try to get a loan, and we really don’t want that, because it would put us farther back. We haven’t really been successful yet, but we’re not going to give up on that. We’re going to continue to try,” said Pastor Tisdale.

WATCH RELATED: Insurance company cancels San Diego church’s policy based on satellite images

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