Millstadt home owner says insurer didn't fully cover fire claim

Kelly Holleran Oct. 27, 2009, 11:22am

A St. Clair County woman is suing her insurance company, saying it took an unreasonably long time to reimburse her for items she lost during a fire and claiming she still has not been paid more than $17,000 in claims.

Rebecca Czerniejewski filed a lawsuit Oct. 20 in St. Clair County Circuit Court against State Farm Fire and Casualty Company.

Czerniejewski claims she purchased fire and casualty insurance from State Farm, which was in effect when a fire occurred at her home located at 300 Deanewood Dr. in Millstadt on Dec. 22, 2007.

As a result of the fire, Czerniejewski's house suffered structural damages and Czerniejewski lost most of her personal property, according to the complaint.

At the time of the fire, Czerniejewski's home was insured for $164,947, the suit states.

When Czerniejewski went to replace her items, she followed State Farm's stringent standards and submitted detailed accounting charts and receipts highlighting the items she replaced and the cost of those items, the complaint says.

State Farm promised Czerniejewski she would be reimbursed within 30 days from the time she submitted her claim.

However, the insurance company repeatedly failed to timely repay Czerniejewski back for expenses she incurred, she claims.

"State Farm routinely delayed making payments on contents claims for months at a time," the suit states.

Because of State Farm's delays, Czerniejewski racked up credit card debt of more than $5,000, according to the complaint.

In addition, State Farm still owes Czerniejewski about $17,500 in claims under her policy, the complaint says.

Czerniejewski is seeking a judgment of more than $15,000, plus penalties, costs, attorneys' fees and other relief the court deems just.

Stephen P. McGlynn of McGlynn and McGlynn in Belleville.

St. Clair County Circuit Court case number: 09-L-560.

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