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Floor damage and advice


akambience
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Hello all,

I’m looking for stories and advice.

 

We have a glass 55 gallon mixed reef, 8 gallon sump fuge.

 

Recently we moved across town into a 100 year old apartment. We have renters insurance through USAA and we were under the impression that should the tank shatter or some sort of catastrophe cause damage to the hardwood floors, that the insurance would cover 200k in damages to the building. One guy at USAA told us that we were covered no matter what, but upon further research, only our belongings are covered not the actual structure.

 

The thought of being responsible for $10,000’s of dollars’ worth of damage to the apartment is pretty unsettling, especially when we’re already in debt, so my wife wants to get a self-enclosed nano cube instead until we buy a house in a couple years. Although the thought of all the money and hard work that has gone into the 55 makes me heartbroken; I can definitely see her point. I promised to do a ton of research, and ask those who knew best, my fellow reefers.

 

So, this is keeping us up at night, should there be the inevitable catastrophe, how much damage will 55 gallons cause to the hardwood floors? Have you had floods that have caused structural damage? This is an older apartment and the hardwoods were replaced four years ago and we have the basement below us.

 

Thank you all for your insight and advice.

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Pretty similar to a water heater is my guess. The key is that there is a basement below and not another apartment because that's where the water's going. The wood would easily survive with a water damage crew out there with dehumidifiers and fans. If the basement ceiling is sheetrock, it would be toast. I would ask the landlord what their opinion is regarding fish tanks. Accidents are just that; accidents. No different than if your washing machine puked up or your dishwasher for that matter. You shouldn't be responsible for damage to a rented structure unless you willfully do something to damage it. That is unless the landord tells you you can't have an aquarium; then you'd be in trouble. However, I'm an engineer and no absolutely nothing about the law, so take this all with a BIG grain of salt. I have been around the block a few times though, so I've been through upstairs neighbors water heaters bursting and such.

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I really don't see any problem in keeping the 55. The chances of something happening are very slim. Does it have a sump? You sure the wife isn't tired of seeing this money hungry thing sitting around? :) Sorry not much help. Their are a lot of very nice Cubes out their. Good Luck

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I work in the as a maintenance tech for a large complex. The way we handle damage is if it was caused by nature or the building being faulty like broken pipes water heaters going out floods leaks and the such we pay for all repairs but the tennant is responsible for any of their belongings that were damaged. If the tenant was the cause of the damage we make the repairs and then send a bill to the tenant for the cost of the repairs. We had a tenant who was flushing baby wipes down the toilet and clogged the main sewer line, they got a bill for $700 from us to pay back the cost of the plumber. If you renters insurance does not cover the damage to the building in the event of a leaking tank you should look into a diffrent coverage plan. Also double check your lease or rental agreemant to make sure there is no language that prohibits fish tanks or water beds. And remember to get every thing in writing, just because a insurance agent says its covered does not make it so when the bills come due. Same thing goes for the landlord just because they tell you the tank is ok if it says diffrently in the lease then go by what you have in writing. Hope that helps I am not a landlord tenant law attorney nor do I know much about renters insurance. =)

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Thank you all for your advice.

 

Keith and Bill: I think you guys and I see the world the same way. Unfortunately our new landlord is just a stone throws away from the crazy side.(crazy) The wife's bottom line is, what if she did hold us completely liable? She could conceivably bill us for the complete cost of the damage, and that's the concern for the Mrs.

 

I really don't see any problem in keeping the 55. The chances of something happening are very slim. Does it have a sump? You sure the wife isn't tired of seeing this money hungry thing sitting around? :) Sorry not much help. Their are a lot of very nice Cubes out their. Good Luck

I don't *think* that shes tired of the tank, but she is a cunning and clever one...

 

I don't know for sure but you might look into seeing if you can open an umbrella policy or separate policy for the floor or the tank that would cover the damage it might do.

I too would find out what the owners/landlords insurance policy covers.

Can you tell me more about an umbrella policy? USAA has by far the best and most comprehensive coverage that I have found. They couldn't offer me anything in their arsenal of polices nor could they refer me to a company that issued anything remotely similar to aquarium insurance. Would it be part of a renters insurance policy?

 

 

Our new landlord is a sole proprietor and not anything like a cooperation. Shes quite the antiphrasis actually; the lease is one page, and she's bordering on aggressively-eccentric. So I suppose that the more refined question should be what kind of home owners policy she has on the house? (of 8 apartments). There is nothing in the lease about waterbeds and aquariums, and she is well aware of our tank. However, I can surmise that she never thought of the potential damage that could be done; and to be honest, i'm a little afraid that if I start asking questions about her home owner's policy, that she would flip her rocker. There is nothing else in the apartment that could mimic the issue at hand such as a water heater, dishwasher or washing machine. Thus, more evidence that shes never thought of the 'worst case scenario'....

 

One more question: I need actual accounts of aquarium flooding on hardwoods.

...not so much of a question I suppose...

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Can you tell me more about an umbrella policy? USAA has by far the best and most comprehensive coverage that I have found. They couldn't offer me anything in their arsenal of polices nor could they refer me to a company that issued anything remotely similar to aquarium insurance. Would it be part of a renters insurance policy?

I'm not sure all what umbrella policies cover but I do know that my wife has one on her piano ON TOP of what we already have for renters insurance. The renters insurance would cover some of what might happen to the piano but the umbrella policy makes sure that if ANYTHING happens to the piano it is covered. I guess you could do 1 of 2 things. First check into getting one for the fish tank and see what it might cover. or Second check and see if you can get something for the hardwood floor so that if the fish tank or anything else were to destroy it in some way it would be covered (it would seem the landlord would have something like that but it can't hurt to check)

Just to make things easy for you here is the USAA umbrella website: https://www.usaa.com/inet/pages/insurance_home_umbrella

You could always just tell the landlord that you know those are nice floors in the apartment and you don't want to ding, chip, dent, or ruin them in any way and if that were to happen how would all of that get covered. Just a thought.

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I have lost probably 5 gallons on our hardwood, but was right there to clean it up. No dammage. I would expect a propperly sealed hardwood to withstand standing water. The problem would be at the edges of the floor, similar to a laminate, or tile.

Just my 2 cents.

Hope that helps, Gabe

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I have had a spill from an obstructed overflow (da#m non drilled). About 2-3 gallons. Happened overnight. Hardwood floors are meant to expand and contract due to seasonal humidity changes. The water caused about 3-4 oak planks to cup and crack and some water to run under the carpet in an adjacent bedroom. Was not pretty. "The Warden" (wife) was not the happiest camper in the park. (wife)(wife)(wife)

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have you thought about creating a basin that would contain the mess if something did happen?

 

I was in a scenario where I had a 100 gallon which would have ruined the house if it leaked. I decided to buy some pond liner and make a box that could hold about 120 gallons out of wood. Nothing ever happened, but even if it did I was more than covered.

 

Installing it into an existing 50 gallon wouldn't be too bad, would just have to get some friends over to help lift it up for a few seconds and then slide the basin underneath.

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UPDATE:

I tried to open an umbrella policy for the house that I’m living in. Turns out that I didn’t need it. While I was talking to a USAA advisor, I quickly became aware that I did not quite understand the renters policy that I already had. So this is how all of this works:

 

If my tank floods the floor, and there is $X0,000 worth of damage to the hardwoods and supporting structures, it is the responsibility for the owner of the house to fix and repair the damage. IF the landlord has home owners insurance, then that policy would also be tapped to cover the costs. (depending on her particular policy).

The landlord could then ask us to pay for the deductible of her premium for the repairs or ask me to cover the entire cost of the repairs out of good faith. Should we decline to pay out of our pockets, she could then sue us. Upon the lawsuit, our renters insurance through USAA will kick in and pay whatever home owner is legally entitled to in the state of Oregon and settle off the bat. Thereby legally getting us off the hook. Each state is different, and whatever she is entitled to may be more or less of the accrual costs of the repairs.

 

Our policy covers up to $300,000 of liability. The only exception to this scenario is if I am negligent of the event that caused the damage. The insurance agent advised that I take a video camera and give a video tour of our tank and how it’s set up emphasizing the safety redundancies. i.e. enough room in the sump to handle a power outage, or dual drains that can handle the flow should one get plugged, timers on the ATO so if the switch gets lodged in the on position, it can only pump 15 minutes a day. It will also document the rest of the apartment and our belongings should there be a total loss like a fire or something. This tape will live in my safety deposit box. Should a claim be made, I give the tape to USAA, and they would take the tape to “experts” in the reefing community and ask if how I had my tank set up was “standard” and “normal practice” in the hobby.

 

Clear as mud huh?

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Well I am glad you looked into the umbrella policy and am even happier that you didn't have to open one. I don't think they're that expensive but now you don't have to pay it. Good to know that you are indeed covered in case anything happens with the tank and with the hardwood floors.

I'm assuming that means that you are going to keep the tank up and running?

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Indeed. Infact we just startyed some projects that we were putting off should we have needed to downsize. We just picked up a peppermint shrimp for our pest aiptasia, and are rewiring our light fixture that needed a long overdue overhaul. (naughty)

 

It is nice to have a good grasp of where you stand should you fall into the worst case scenario.

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