CLEARWATER, Fla. (WFLA) – Seven months after a truck plowed into their Clearwater home, Ivonne and Payton Royal are still stuck living in a destruction zone. They’re fed up with their insurance company.
“I can’t take it anymore,” Ivonne Royal said. “I want my home back. We don’t even like to be at home anymore. It’s so upsetting.”
Their house has been a mess since Sept. 8, when a confused driver swerved to miss a cat and dog in the street. The driver then said he accidentally hit the gas instead of the break. His truck slammed through the Royals’ front window at 1424 Cirtrus St., driving right into their living room couch.
Thankfully, the Royals were in their kitchen, cooking hamburgers at the time.
“Instagram may have saved our lives,” Ivonne Royal said. “We were posting pictures of our food.”
No one was hurt, but the home needed major structural repairs. The Royals called their insurance company, People’s Trust, right away. They say the process was frustrating from the beginning. It took six days before anyone came out to look at the damage. Other construction companies stopped by to offer quotes, but the Royals were obligated to use their insurance company’s contractor, Rapid Response.
“People that don’t even know that this happened because I didn’t even call them came to my house, but my own insurance company can’t come to my house,” Royal said. “What am I paying you for?”
No work started until February, and the home is still a disaster. No one from the company has been by in two weeks, and there is no communication as to when the home will be finished, the couple says.
They turned to 8 On Your Side. A representative with People’s Choice sent this statement:
“Our top priority is always to help our policyholders get their lives back to normal as quickly as possible, and in the vast majority of cases the restoration process can be completed in a relatively short period of time. We recognize how stressful it is anytime a homeowner’s house is damaged, let alone in such a unique and extreme circumstance as this.
“However, this was a very unusual and complex situation involving structural damage to the home that required engineering studies, multiple inspections and obtaining permits. We regret the delays they have experienced during the process, but we are confident the repairs will be properly completed and this homeowner will soon be restored to normalcy.”
For now, the Royals are left with a makeshift wall. They have no front door or front window.
The company cites delays in permitting and engineering approvals. A representative said the windows have been ordered and, as soon as they are in, major work will resume. May 9 is the expected completion date.
That’s not soon enough for the Royals. “I didn’t ask anyone to drive into my house. I was just sitting here, making burgers with my friends,” Ivonne Royal said.