GOLD CANYON, AZ (3TV/CBS 5) — We have an update on a Gold Canyon couple whose home is literally caving in. Their insurance company says it won’t cover the problem. After our report aired, the company is taking a second look. Farmers Insurance sent a structural engineer to inspect Lynda Hammond’s and her husband’s home.
The couple’s house is falling in, due to what is believed to be a major structural mistake. “Since the ceiling is opened, we have discovered and been told by other experts that the beams are going in the wrong direction,” Hammond said. “They will not hold the weight that we have upstairs. And that has been the problem all along.”
In a previous On Your Side report, Hammond explained how the upper level of their home began to show signs of caving in. A golf ball illustrated how the floor has gradually sloped a few inches. And the flooring on their balcony is splintering because it’s starting to buckle.
To save the home from collapsing, a construction crew placed vertical beams in the garage to give more support. The couple submitted a claim to Farmers Insurance, but that claim was denied because Farmers’ policy says a collapse must be “sudden” and “complete” for it to be covered.
But the couple’s home is collapsing slowly, and that’s the sticking point. “Why else do we have insurance?” Hammond said. “We hire insurance companies to protect us, to give us peace of mind. And that’s what they should do here.”
Engineers say a support beam over the garage is too small and is now weakening under the pressure of the Hammond’s home.
Due to an on-the-job injury that forced her to walk away from her career in TV news, it’s extremely difficult for Hammond to leave the house. She says her home is more than a sanctuary. In fact, she refers to it as her “Fortress of Solitude.” “I want my house to be comfortable and cozy, which is why we bought it in the first place,” she said. “It’s kind of a bigger house, but it’s still a cozy, comforting place for me to be. And I want that back. I really do.”
Since On Your Side’s report, Hammond says she and her husband have heard from people across the country with words of support. While she appreciates their thoughts, she’s also thankful Farmers is taking a second look at their unusual problem. “I kind of feel like I’ve got to pray to God and and put my faith in God and know that eventually down the road it’s going to be fixed,” she said, “and hopefully it’s not going to be as bad as it looks right now. Because it does look bad.”
Plenty of questions remain here, starting with how could the house pass inspection if major support beams were installed incorrectly? We’re looking into that, and we’ll have more in a follow-up report.
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Clinton Mora is a reporter for Trending Insurance News. He has previously worked for the Forbes. As a contributor to Trending Insurance News, Clinton covers emerging a wide range of property and casualty insurance related stories.