Whenever you have a contractor of any kind working around your house, ALWAYS BE SURE THEY’RE INSURED!
That’s even if you think they’re the nicest folks to come along since God created the Angel Gabriel. Even if they seem honest as Abe. Even if they work as hard as a plow horse.
Got that? Don’t just ask if they’re insured. Demand to see the policy. You want proof positive that they have general liability insurance or that they’re licensed and bonded with your state registrar of contractors.
When J & L sold their home of 40 years and moved to the Beatitudes, a life-care community, they hired two women who are in the business of helping elders move into old-folkeries. There are a number of these places in the Valley, and the pair have registered themselves with a bunch of them. For J & L, who are in their nineties and were moving to an apartment that was — maybe — two-thirds the size of their home, only with no garage and no garage storage and a tiny kitchen and no room for L’s office, these two ladies were a godsend. They advised on what furniture could fit into the new digs and where it could be fit, they packed up as much as could be stuffed into the apartment and arranged for movers, they put stuff away in closets and cabinets, they even got someone to custom-build a way to hang the expensive draperies J wanted to take with them.
As part of the bargain, once the couple was moved out the moving helpers were to arrange and supervise an estate sale, to sell off the (many) possessions that simply could not fit into a tiny apartment on the fourth floor of an old-folks’ home.
I remember thinking, as the two women were telling me this, I don’t recall seeing any ads from your outfit in the estate-sale listings to which I subscribe in gay profusion. Are you trying to say “yard sale,” dears? If so, how’s about telling the client that? But I kept quiet. Maybe, after all, they did their estate-sale business under some other moniker.
Okay. So this gigantic project chugs along and eventually they get the folks moved. They tidy up the remaining goods, and now this estate sale is supposed to take place the following day.
That night, the house is broken into and everything of significant value is stolen. The women say the lost items were appraised (really??? Who are you kidding?) at $5,000.
The house is locked up behind mighty iron security gates, brain-banging deadbolts, and an expensive and efficient alarm system. Sooo…WTF, say I.
J says the two women “forgot” to turn on the burglar alarm when they left that evening. The perps, who magically knew the alarm company’s stickers on the window alluded to nothing, broke a window, climbed in, and made themselves to home.
“Forgot:” Yeah. R-i-i-i-g-h-t.
So now the women tell them that they — J & L — will have to make this claim on THEIR homeowner’s insurance!
Can’t you just hear the insurance adjustor’s reaction? “Ohhh no. Not a chance in Hell. You had already moved out of the place and you had consigned the property to these people; therefore the consignee was responsible.”
And…say what? Five. Thousand. Dollah? Don’t think so.
I’ve done a lot of yard sales in my life. And neighbors who used to live across the street from me, a pair who became dear friends, were in the yard-sale business. And…well…y’know what? The entire contents of that house including all the stuff they moved into their new home were totally absolutely not worth $5,000. They had a few works of art that were worth something…but they took those with them.
So. IMHO we’re lookin’ at a scam here.
But that’s just IMHO, eh?
The point is, once the possessions had been handed over into the care of the assisted-moving business, they became the assisted-movers’ insurance company’s responsibility, not the homeowner’s.
Dollah to donuts, that is what my friends’ insuror will claim. And several dollahs to donuts, these women have no business insurance or anything vaguely resembling it.
At the risk of repeating myself…