How to file a claim against someone else's homeowners insurance

If you or a family member are injured and someone else is legally responsible, you can file a liability coverage claim with their homeowners insurance to get reimbursed for damages.

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Along with covering the structure of your house and your belongings, homeowners insurance also provides liability protection in the event you’re legally responsible for an accident and sued. 

But what happens if your neighbor is liable for injuring you or damaging your property? Who files the claim against their homeowners insurance — you or your neighbor?

In most cases, it doesn’t make a difference. As long as the policy number and name of the primary policyholder are provided, most insurers will accept liability claims without regard to who filed it. If your neighbor doesn’t have insurance or you’re not able to retrieve their policy information, you have the option of suing and settling the matter in court. 

5 steps to filing a claim against someone else’s homeowners insurance

  1. Talk to the responsible party 

  2. Get their policy information

  3. Contact their home insurance company

  4. Gather proof of negligence

  5. Prepare for an investigation

Can I file a claim against someone else’s homeowners insurance?

Yes, if you believe someone else is liable for injuring you or a resident of your household, you can file a claim against their homeowners insurance to get reimbursed for medical expenses, loss of income, and other damages. But it’s usually in the responsible party’s best interest to file the claim themselves. 

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How to file a claim with someone else’s homeowners insurance

To get paid by someone else’s insurance company for an injury or property loss, either you or the responsible party will need to file a liability coverage claim. As the party claiming damages, you’ll need to prove negligence during the claims process.

1. Talk to the responsible party

Before proceeding with a claim, talk to the party you believe is liable for your injury or property loss so you can discuss how to proceed. If the individual is a neighbor or friend and the injury is relatively minor, they can use their policy’s no-fault medical payments coverage or offer to cover medical expenses out of pocket.

But if the accident involves a serious injury that puts you out of work for an extended period of time, it may be in your best interest to file a personal liability claim with their insurance company.

2. Get their policy information

To file a liability claim against someone else’s insurance, you need to know their full name, the name of their insurance provider, and their policy number. If the responsible party refuses to share their insurance information, then you have the option of filing a lawsuit. In the event it reaches this point, their insurance company may decide to either settle and pay you for the alleged damages or fight the lawsuit.

3. Contact their home insurance company

Once you have the responsible party’s policy information, you can contact their insurance company and begin the claim. The insurer will likely ask for additional proof to support your claim, along with any witnesses of the incident.

4. Gather proof of negligence

As the injured party, you’ll need to provide proof that supports your claim for damages. If you were attacked and injured by a neighbor’s dog, for instance, take note of the time and date of the injury, provide a detailed account of what happened, describe the dog’s breed or appearance, and make copies of medical bills. 

Keep in mind that liability claims are extremely difficult to prove. And insurance companies will fight tooth and nail to defend their client. 

For example, imagine your neighbor’s dead tree topples over onto your home. While it may seem like your neighbor is liable for not removing the tree before it caused damage, it will likely be difficult to prove negligence. Unless you were able to prove that you warned your neighbor of the tree’s condition and they were aware it posed a risk, your claim will likely be denied.

5. Prepare for an investigation

Once the claim is filed, the liable party’s insurance company will have a claims adjuster contact you and investigate the claim. The insurance adjuster’s investigation will likely include a visit to where the incident occurred, collection of evidence, and witness interviews. 

5 common homeowners insurance liability claims

If you or someone in your household is a victim of any of the following, you may be able to file a claim against the other person’s homeowners insurance:

Dog bites

Dog-related claims account for nearly a third of personal liability claims — with an average claim payout of $50,425 in 2020, according to the Insurance Information Institute. [1]

But the success of the claim will likely hinge on whether the policy covers the breed that caused the injury. 

For example, many insurance companies exclude certain types of dog breeds from policies, including pit bulls, rottweilers, and German shepherds. If your child was bitten by your neighbor’s dog and the breed is excluded from their insurance, then your neighbor will likely need to pay you directly or you’ll have to sue to be paid for the damages.

Pool injuries

Homeowners with pools are expected to take “reasonable care” of the area around the pool to limit pool injuries. This means keeping the area around the pool dry to avoid slip and falls, having a fence around the pool and securing the gate when it’s not in use, and keeping a close eye on the pool itself when it is in use.

Trampolines

Trampoline injuries are another common type of liability claim, although many insurance companies now require homeowners with trampolines to have protective netting around the exterior of the structure to reduce the risk of injury.

Fallen trees

If your neighbor’s tree fell onto your property and you can prove to their insurer that it was a known hazard, you could file a claim against their homeowners insurance.

Accidental injuries in and around the home

Slip and falls are probably the most common type of liability claims. These accidents can be caused by icy driveways or pathways, wet or damaged floors, or just having a home with old and unsteady stairs or floorboards.

Frequently asked questions

Is there a downside to filing a homeowners insurance claim?

Yes, filing frequent small or expensive claims can both lead to higher home insurance rates and dropped coverage. Since liability claims are often expensive in nature due to high legal fees and medical expenses, they often lead to higher rates or policy cancellation.

How can I find out someone’s homeowners insurance?

To find out someone’s home insurance policy information for a claim, you’ll need to ask them directly. If they refuse to tell you, you have a couple of options. The first is to file a claim through your own insurance company, who will then pursue subrogation (recovery) of your claim and deductible through your neighbor. Your second option would be to send your neighbor a letter asking for their policy information with the caveat that you may pursue legal action if they refuse.

Does home insurance cover damage to other people’s property?

Yes, the personal liability portion of homeowners insurance pays for damage to the property of others. So if your kid accidentally shoots a firework at your neighbors house and it causes a fire, your home insurance can help pay for repairs.

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