East Liverpool families forced from homes say insurance not covering damage

Drilling began Thursday on Lisbon Street to determine the cause of the ground movement

Families evacuated from their homes in East Liverpool are receiving help from the community.

EAST LIVERPOOL, Ohio (WKBN) – East Liverpool families who were evicted from their homes due to cracks on Lisbon Street and to the foundations of their homes are not getting any help from their insurance companies.

Drilling began in the area Thursday in an attempt to find the cause of the ground movement. Police have blocked off the area, as three homes are in danger of sliding down the hill behind them due to the movement.

Judy Blazer owns one of those three homes. She has been in the home for nearly 40 years, and it is where she and her late husband spent most of their lives.

“The house we were living in was a four-generation house, and it just had a lot of meaning to us,” she said.

Now that it is collapsing, Blazer said it is going to be a struggle to pay for a new home, especially since she said her insurance company refuses to help, because ground movement is not covered under the policy.

Judy Blazer’s neighbor, Mona Douglas, was told something similar, and she still has belongings in her house. She cannot go inside, because police have it blocked off for their safety.

Photos: East Liverpool Fissure

“I went to call about my furniture inside because, you know, and I called and told them about that. They said they do not pay for that because it was an act of God,” she said.

Both Douglas and Blazer have Allstate Insurance. Blazer is covered under the homeowner’s plan, while Douglas has the company’s renter’s insurance.

WKBN reached out to Allstate, but representatives declined to comment on why coverage was not offered.

The Ohio Insurance Institute said ground movement emergencies, like earthquakes and landslides, are something most companies offer in separate policies. The Ohio Insurance Institute represents the state’s property and casualty insurance industry.

“In a homeowner’s policy, you’re not going to find coverage for earthquakes, for landslides, for mudslides or any type of earth movement,” said Mary Bonelli, spokeswoman for the Ohio Insurance Institute.

Bonelli said the insurance covers losses a typical homeowner would experience, like fires or tornadoes, but it does not cover everything.

“The reason why is because if you made a policy that covered everything, the cost of coverage could be out of this world and out of the hands of most consumers,” she said.

She said you can often find what the insurance policy specifically covers in the exclusion section.

The East Liverpool families are currently staying in hotels, with assistance from the American Red Cross. Douglas’s family is still looking for a new home, and Blazer plans on moving into an apartment this weekend.

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