Will my neighbors insurance cover a tree that feel on my fence?
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Asked July 29, 2013
One of the most important features of a homeowner's insurance policy is that it covers liability claims filed against the home and property by others. Liability includes damages and injuries, and the coverage includes paying the cost of representation, curt fines or other monetary penalties. In your case, the situation sounds like exactly the type of property damage the policy is designed to cover.
Your first step is to get the damages documented. Contact your own insurance agent and report the incident, take pictures of the tree and damages, and collect statements from any witnesses who were present when the tree fell. Next, get three estimates for the repairs needed, and then contact our neighbor. Explain the documents you have gathered, and ask them to file a claim with their insurance company. Unlike some types of liability insurance, it is the policyholder who files the claim, not the injured party.
You cannot force your neighbor to file a homeowner's insurance claim. However, if they decide not to file the claim, you can sue them directly for the damages as well as any court costs involved in the civil suit. Legally, a person is responsible for any injuries or damages that occur on their property, and without insurance they are required to pay the costs out of pocket.
If you and your neighbor belong to a Homeowners Association, contact them before filing a civil suit. The HOA may keep records including the insurance companies responsible for different lots, and may be able to get the ball rolling on a settlement in your behalf. Additionally, HOA regulations may specifically detail the procedure residents are expected to follow in settling such claims.
Answered July 29, 2013 by Anonymous