Reporting Kurtis Ming
ROCKLIN (CBS13) — With her neighborhood situated far from any rivers, lakes or levees, Blanca Pace never thought to get flood insurance.
Until, as she learned, it was too late.
Pace remembered opening her back door on a breezy May morning while she prepared breakfast — looking through her kitchen window, she watched thousands of gallons of water crash through her fence, wash away years of landscaping and flow into her home.
“At first I thought, ‘I need a towel,’ and then I thought, ‘I need a broom,’” she said, still started from the sudden water more than two months later. “Then I thought, ‘No, I need help.’”
A lifetime of furniture and keepsakes now stockpiled in her living room, Pace described her day-to-day life since that morning.
“It feels horrible to live this way,” she said. “I get up every morning and say, ‘When is this going to end?’”
Carpets and floors in her home of 22 years now ruined and landscaping destroyed, Pace calculated about $75,000 in damage.
But her insurance company, Ameriprise, refused to help — sending a letter saying she’s not covered.
“They say they cannot represent me because this is a flood,” she said.
Stuck alone fighting her neighbor’s insurance company, Allstate, Pace rejected offers of about $11,000, about $51,000, and then about $ 59,000, she said.
She can’t afford to pay thousands of her own money out of pocket.
“There’s at least $10,000, $15,000 difference here, and I don’t have that type of money,” she said.
“This isn’t truly surface water,” argues consumer attorney Eric Ratinoff, who specializes in insurance cases. “This is an event.”
Pace never should have had to fight her neighbor’s insurance company — her own insurance company should have covered the damage, Ratinoff said.
“This sudden, accidental event that occurs where their house floods should be covered under this policy,” he said.
But Ameriprise stood firm, telling CBS13 Pace’s policy specifically excludes surface water damage.
Pace filed a complaint with the Department of Insurance, which told her it’s now investigating Ameriprise.
“I see all this devastation and I don’t know when it’s going to end,” she said.
After CBS13 got involved, Allstate raised its offer to about $70,000 to cover the damage, she said, which she accepted.
Now the race is on to restore her home.
“I am a determined person, and I am a survivor,” Pace said. “I will get it done.”