Steve Jones Says Nationwide Is Off His Side: How a Windy Day Turned Into a Legal Hurricane
Written by: Sam Orlando
WALDORF, MD - Ah, the joys of homeownership in Maryland: fresh air, backyard barbecues, and, of course, your very own windstorm tearing through the premises. A tempest in the truest sense of the word came whipping through Steve Jones's Port Tobacco residence last April. But in a plot twist that nobody saw coming (sarcasm alert), Nationwide Mutual Fire Insurance Company has decided that, while they're on your side in commercials, they might not be when your home gets sideswiped by Mother Nature, according to Jones.
Steve Jones, the homeowner caught in this latest insurance kerfuffle, took the smart route by insuring his house with a policy from Nationwide. Jones says he trusted the firm would have his back, especially after the cruel winds knocked it out, damaging his residence. Little did he know that the Nationwide coverage would blow away just like the shingles on his roof.
So what's this dispute about? Numbers. Semper Fi Public Adjusters LLC, hired by Jones, estimated the total damage at a gasp-inducing $148,463.70. Nationwide, in an act that can only be described as the ultimate minimalist approach, offered a modest $4,200. That leaves us with a mathematical cliffhanger—the $144,263.70 question of where's the rest of the money?
And it doesn't end there. Adding insult to injury, Nationwide hasn't even handed over a copy of the insurance policy to Jones, despite multiple requests. Maybe they're still printing it. Maybe it's written in invisible ink. Or perhaps, as alleged in the lawsuit, they've breached the contract and failed to act in good faith.
In Maryland, insurance companies are required to form judgments "based on honesty and diligence supported by evidence" when settling claims. If you're wondering, yes, Jones has filed a lawsuit on two counts: breach of contract and, wait for it, failure to settle claims in good faith.
While we wait to see if this insurance debacle lands Jones the $75,000-plus in damages he's seeking, let's pause and marvel at the latest episode in the continuing saga of insurance companies apparently forgetting why they exist in the first place.
One thing's for sure: Jones has opted for a jury trial, which may just blow the lid off this twisted tale of policies, premiums, and the refusal to pay up.
In the meantime, the rest of us can only hope that our insurance policies cover irony. Because in the land of the free and the home of the brave, where you pay companies to protect your homes, sometimes you end up having to fight to make them do just that.