Lightning puts hole in RV’s roof. Big damage. Insurance company balks!


By Billy Walkowiak
A 2015 Heartland Silverado camper was struck by lightning resulting in a hole in the roof causing water damage since July without the owner’s knowledge. He discovered the damage last month. Progressive said, “We will pay to fix the roof, but the subsequent damage is not covered.”

After speaking to me I told the camper owner to invoke the appraisal clause. Now folks, there are a lot of adjusters and appraisers who will mislead victims or are simply uneducated.

The insurance adjuster wrote:
I am writing in response to our conversation yesterday regarding your travel trailer and the excluded damages that occurred from water seeping into the unit. You indicated you would like to invoke the appraisal clause. This clause is typically reserved when a customer and insurer cannot agree on the actual cash value of a vehicle, not when there is a coverage decision dispute. Our estimate included consideration for the sudden damage that occurred from the lightning strike (roof repair and electrical repairs). Our coverage doesn’t apply to the water damage to your camper that has occurred since the original date of loss, July 3, 2019.”

HE IS 100% wrong. My customer suggested he contact his supervisor or go back and read his own policy. Within 24 hours they hired an independent appraiser to speak to me. I explained my position and had an estimate prepared by a camper repair company. The customer went from a $12,521.56 repair estimate not covering mold, electrical and water damage, to getting his camper declared a total loss and receiving $30,000 to go buy a new camper.

NEVER TRUST ANYONE WHO OWES YOU MONEY. The adjuster lowballed the repair cost, told him he couldn’t use the appraisal clause, and that the camper would never total. So was the adjuster dishonest or just incompetent?

Billy Walkowiak is the founder and CEO of Collision Safety Consultants, 6116 W Wilkinson Blvd in Belmont, North Carolina. He can be reached at Billy.collisionsafety (at), (704) 747-9337 or on Facebook.


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James Rrynolds

It is the insured’s responsibility after a claim resulting from an insured peril to protect the property from further damage by whatever means necessary. Insured should have done temporary repairs immediately after the event to protect the rv.


Isn’t this just a repeat of a facebook rant I saw last week?


I used to have Progressive on my tow vehicle until another vehicle hit me. My own fault, but Progressive only would repair my truck with used parts, including electrical parts. I raised **** with the adjuster but they wouldn’t budge. I ended up forking out money out of my pocket to get new factory parts and promptly cancelled Progressive. No wonder their policy was cheaper than anybody else.

H Goff

i though this was a newsletter about RVs – not a rant about one person’s one-sided recount of dealing with an insurance claim.


Wifes an insurance supervisor she tells me stories of how they are instructed to low ball the claim. Call the insurance Commissioner in the state the company resides in. They always “reconsidered” and play fare, they hate it when the adjuster has to justify the denial in writing to the Insurance Commissioner. Like some one else said, Never believe an Insurance company that owes you big bucks, ever.


I had a Progressive insured women trying to outrun some some guys harassing her at a quick market stop. She drives her car 450 feet down a bike path and goes through my new $4,000 cedar fence and stopped at the front wheel of my daughters vehicle. We helped the person with a phone, let her leave her vehicle on my property overnight and picked up car parts. To which Progressive paid less than ⅓ to fix the fence. I had to fix it myself. Ever try to dig up snapped posts encased in concrete? Progressive may help their insured, but they have no problem ***ting on those who’s property is damaged. I should have taken them to claims court. Lesson learned.

RANDY L Johnson

As an Adjuster for over 40 years, My question is why they did not run this through their legal department before denying a policy provision. Very dangerous from the Insurance companies position. Also, Right of appraisals is for damage. The proper part would be the Arbitration clause found in most policies. A good adjuster will always look for coverage, If none found, then they are strong on denial. If not Pay the claim 100%

Billy Bob Thorton

Unless the boiler plate verbage in the insurance contract precludes him from legal action ( a.k.a. arbitration clause) SUE THE BASTARDS. Nothing gets an insurance compaies attention more than litigation that will set a president, if one does not already exist, which i would find hard to believe it doesnt.


I’ve had very few insurance claims over the years, thankfully, but my experience in all has been just the opposite of these folks. Both with Progressive and other companies my claims have been handled promptly, appropriately and settled to meet or exceed my expectations. The adjusters assigned each time were friendly and helpful, and in at least one case, advised me of a (costly for them) benefit that I didn’t even realize was available. I have no idea why my experiences have been different from others, maybe just luck of the draw, but two of our claims were significant so I don’t think it has to do with dollar value. Filing a claim doesn’t have to become an adversarial experience.

Joan Richardson

I have been fortunate to have The Hartford (AARP). I have never had any claims and now 2. One last year and one now. I was fearful I would get some resistance with 2 claims in 2 yrs. No problem. I have been impressed so far with this company and their appraisers. Both times I have had RV at the RV service center. I don’t know if that makes a difference because the manager talks to the appraiser as my advocate.


Thats really weird. Because when we insured our RV with progressive they asked us what would you take if the camper is damaged. I told them I believe I can get a replacement for around 15. So they put on there. I really think there is more to it then meets the eye. But this is IMO not theirs. All I can say is I have never had a problem. I guess they like me better? Good luck.


Answer to question – likely both – definitely incompetent, and if the general public knew what it took in terms of expertise/education to become an insurance company appraiser, and to a lesser extent an adjustor (he or she is just an appraiser good at making up excuses on the fly promoted to a nice air conditioned office) you would understand better why this s**t happens. There’s lots of really good folks who pay their premiums every year who get shafted thusly, and unnecessarily.

Cut Bills reply out and nail it to the garage wall – good stuff.

Ken Schaeffer

Why isn’t ALLSTAYS entry identified as a paid advertisement or something comparable?
Smacks of deception.
Feels like the typical sellout RV Travel objects to and states it reflects.

Tommy Molnar

Always keep in mind, insurance companies are in business to MAKE money, not lose it. So, whether it’s car insurance, home owner’s insurance, life insurance, RV insurance, whatever insurance, their position will always be to give you the least amount of ‘benefit’ they can get away with. This has been my experience with this stuff. You have to be firm and not give up.


I can see the insurance companies point. The owner was negligent in not finding the damage for several months. If it was in storage, you’d think the storage company would have noticed the damage and alerted him.

I check mine at least every two weeks in storage. Mostly for water damage and rodents.


I wonder if the adjuster gets an “end-of-year bonus” if the insurance company saves money with low ball offers on claims accepted by the customer ?

Bill P

While I mistrust the insurance companies, the appraisers are often times hit or miss.

I’ve had 2 claims with Progressive, one they dismissed out of hand (and it was a longshot, but I figured to take a chance anyway) and the other the appraiser was very good and thorough. He opened the conversation by apologizing for my experience with their Roadside Assistance agent and their incompetence. He also offered to recommend the company reimburse me for the cost of a tire (it was a Sunday afternoon, I couldn’t find a G-rated tire and had to settle for an E just so I could get off the side of the interstate – I had no use for that tire once I got to the shop the next day) and a night in the campground.


Insurance companies always look to save a buck and could care less about the policy holder! Funny how when your premium is due, whether that be monthly, ever 6 months or whatever, the insurance company SNATCHES that money up right away. But, when the time comes for you to get any assistance with a claim, they will drag their feet, sometimes indefinitely!

Living in Louisiana, insurance rates are the second highest in the nation, we were the highest, but now Michigan takes the #1 spot. LOL!