Insurance issues challenge residents during sewage backup

While flood insurance is required in the designated flood plain, it doesn’t always cover damage to contents and homes. That leaves some Davenport residents upset about the cost and coverage.

Annette Rickeberg remembers the sickening sound.

“All of a sudden I’m upstairs, and I’m hearing water,” she recalled.

When sewage backup filled her Davenport basement, it was like Old Faithful erupting.

“I had my geyser coming out,” she said.

And with the geyser showering sewage, she took matters into her own hands.

“Two handkerchiefs and two socks,” she said. “That will stop it.”

While she carries renter’s insurance, there’s no flood insurance. That leaves her high and dry without coverage.

“You have to understand exactly what it covers and what it doesn’t,” she said. “And there’s a lot of stuff it doesn’t cover.”

These are painful reminders that residents need to think about insurance coverage before there’s a crisis. Check with your agent to find the best options.

“Make sure you have adequate coverage,” said Patty Roegiers, an insurance agent with Lohman Companies in Moline. “There is coverage for both the building and your personal effects.”

As snapshots from Carol Clark’s home reveal, sewer and water backup coverage could help.

“My suitcases were floating around on top of the water,” she recalled.

Different than flood insurance, it costs about $50 yearly for $5,000 in coverage. While there is a $250 deductible, it could still help with extensive cleanup in her basement.

“This has to be washed down with bleach water,” said Davenport landlord Art Duncan. “A lot of carrying out things and stuff.”

Most of all, it could ease the desperation that these residents face. Additional coverage can be purchased by paying higher premiums.

“We took care of each other because nobody was going to come and take care of us,” Rickeberg said.

For Annette Rickeberg, facing a weekend of scrubbing and lugging water-logged items, a reality check about backup coverage.

“I was at the mercy of the sewer system,” she concluded.

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