Can I File a Claim Against Someone Else’s Homeowners Insurance?

Filing an insurance claim against another person’s homeowners insurance policy can seem complicated. You may have questions like:

  • Can I actually file a claim against someone else’s policy?
  • What information do I need to file the claim?
  • What is the process for filing the claim?
  • What types of incidents are covered?
  • How do I prove liability and negligence?

This comprehensive guide covers everything you need to know about filing claims against another person’s homeowners insurance policy.

Overview of Liability Claims Against Homeowners Policies

Homeowners insurance policies include liability coverage to protect the policyholder if they are legally responsible for bodily injury or property damage to another person.

For example, if the homeowner’s dog bites a neighbor, or if a guest slips and falls on their property, the homeowner’s liability coverage would pay for the injured person’s medical bills, lost wages, and other damages like pain and suffering.

Liability claims can be complex, but the general process is:

  1. Incident occurs on the policyholder’s property or due to their negligence.

  2. Injured party files a claim against the policyholder’s homeowners insurance.

  3. Insurance company investigates to determine if the policyholder was negligent and legally liable.

  4. If negligence and liability are proven, the insurance company will pay damages to the injured party up to the liability limits.

So in short – yes, you can file a liability claim against someone else’s homeowners insurance if they caused your injury or property damage, and their policy should cover the costs if they are negligent.

What Information Do You Need to File a Liability Claim?

To file a successful liability claim against another person’s homeowners insurance, you need to gather some key information:

  • Homeowner’s full name – This is the named insured on the policy.

  • Address of insured property – Where the incident occurred.

  • Insurance company name – Who issued the homeowner’s policy.

  • Policy number – The specific identifier for their policy.

  • Date and time of incident – Documentation helps prove it occurred during the policy period.

  • Details of what happened – A full account of how you were injured or property damaged.

  • Documents to support your claim – Photos, medical records, repair estimates, police reports, etc.

Without the policyholder’s name and insurance details, you won’t be able to successfully submit the claim. If you don’t know this information, you may need to ask the homeowner to provide it or take legal action to obtain their policy details.

Step-by-Step Guide for Filing a Liability Claim

Follow these key steps when you need to file a liability claim against someone else’s homeowners insurance:

1. Report the Incident

As soon as the injury or property damage occurs, document the date, time, and all details of what happened. Take photos and get contact information for any witnesses. Promptly report the incident to the homeowner.

2. Seek Medical Attention

If you are injured, go to the doctor immediately and follow all medical treatment plans. Keep records of medical expenses and save all bills and receipts.

3. Gather Evidence and Documents

In addition to medical records, compile evidence like photos of unsafe conditions that caused the incident, police reports, invoices for property repairs or replacements, and documentation of lost income from missing work.

4. Contact the Homeowner

Request their full name, insurance company name, policy number, and a copy of the declarations page from their homeowners insurance policy. Explain that you plan to file a liability claim and need this information.

5. Notify the Insurance Company

Once you have the policy details, promptly contact the insurance company and explain that you need to file a liability claim. Provide your contact information, the date of loss, the policyholder’s information, and brief details of the incident.

6. Complete Required Paperwork

The insurer will send you the specific claim forms and instructions for filing. Complete all required paperwork thoroughly and submit along with your documentation that supports the claim.

7. Participate in the Investigation

The insurance company will investigate the claim, which may involve recorded statements, site visits, and interviews. Cooperate fully with the process but avoid volunteering unnecessary information. Have an attorney review any statements the insurer asks you to sign.

8. Negotiate the Settlement

The insurer will make a settlement offer if they deem the policyholder negligent. Negotiate for a fair settlement that covers the full extent of your damages. If necessary, consult a personal injury attorney to help negotiate.

9. Receive Compensation

Once you agree on a settlement amount, the insurance company will issue payment. This compensation should cover all hard costs like medical bills and repairs, plus “pain and suffering” damages.

Examples of Claims Covered by Homeowners Insurance

Here are some of the most common situations where you can file a liability claim against a homeowner’s insurance policy if the incident was caused by their negligence:

  • Dog bite injuries – Coverage depends on the dog’s breed and policy exclusions.

  • Injuries on the property – Such as slip and falls or drowning in a pool.

  • Injuries caused by the home’s condition – For instance, injuries due to broken stairs, unsafe deck railing, or a dead tree falling.

  • Intentional injuries – The policy may pay if the homeowner assaults a guest or directs their dog to attack.

  • Accidental personal injuries – Such as an injury from recreational sports or a dropped object in the home.

  • Damage caused by resident children – If a homeowner’s child starts a fire playing with matches that spreads to a neighbor’s house.

  • Damage from trees or limbs – If a neighbor’s tree falls on your property during a storm.

  • Water damage – For example, if a pipe bursts while homeowners are away and floods a downstairs unit.

  • Vehicle accidents – Damage by a car driven by a homeowner or resident relative may be covered.

However, every claim must be evaluated individually to determine if the policyholder was truly negligent in causing the injury or damage.

Proving Liability and Negligence

The key to successfully settling a homeowners insurance liability claim is being able to prove:

  1. The policyholder owed you a duty of care.
  2. They breached this duty through negligence.
  3. This breach directly caused your damages.

Proving negligence requires showing that a reasonable person in the same situation would have acted differently to prevent the incident. For example, a reasonable person would leash and fence an aggressive dog breed or promptly remove a dead tree leaning toward their neighbor’s home.

Good evidence of negligence can include documentation like:

  • Photos of hazards on the property
  • Witness accounts of the incident
  • Police reports citing violations by the policyholder
  • Prior warnings given to the homeowner about dangers

Without solid evidence of negligence, the insurance company will likely deny your liability claim, and your only other option is to pursue legal action against the homeowner.

An experienced personal injury or insurance attorney can help assess whether you have a valid claim and build a strong case for negligence.

What Happens if the Homeowner Was Not Negligent?

Homeowners insurance provides liability coverage for damages that result from the policyholder’s negligence and failure to act responsibly. However, accidents can occur where the homeowner took reasonable precautions and was not negligent in any way.

For example, if you slipped and fell on their wet kitchen floor right after it had been mopped with warning signs present, the homeowner likely acted reasonably and with proper care. Or if their dog with no history of aggression suddenly bit a guest without provocation, the policyholder was likely not negligent.

If strong evidence cannot prove the homeowner’s breach of responsibility, their insurance company will not pay any damages. In these situations, you would need to cover your own medical costs and property repairs.

However, you always have the right to consult an attorney and pursue legal action if you believe the homeowner should be held liable, even if their insurer denies the claim. A court may award you damages if you can prove your case.

Limits of Liability Coverage

Homeowners insurance policies have maximum limits on liability coverage, usually expressed in dollar amounts like “100/300.” Here is what the liability limits mean:

  • First number – Max payout per person for an injury, usually $100,000-$500,000

  • Second number – Max payout per occurrence total, usually $300,000-$500,000

So if three people are injured in one incident the insurer will pay no more than the per occurrence limit, shared among the three claimants.

If your damages exceed the policy’s liability limits, you can try negotiating with the insurer for a higher settlement. But they are not obligated to pay anything beyond the stated limits. Your only option may be going to court to seek compensation.

An umbrella insurance policy could cover additional liability damages beyond the limits of a homeowner’s underlying policy.

When to Involve a Lawyer

You have the right to consult a personal injury or insurance attorney for assistance with your liability claim at any point in the process. Common reasons people involve lawyers include:

  • The insurer denies the liability claim and refuses payment.

  • The settlement offer seems unreasonable given the extent of damages.

  • Your claim involves complex laws like dog bite statutes.

  • You are uncomfortable handling the insurance claim process yourself.

  • You need help determining if you have a valid, provable claim.

  • The claim involves severe injuries, major property damage, or large lost wages.

Keep in mind that insurance companies have teams of experienced claims adjusters looking out for their best interests. Having your own legal expert can help ensure your rights are protected and you receive full fair compensation.

Options If the Homeowner Has No Insurance

Unfortunately, some people fail to carry homeowners insurance or let their policies lapse. If an uninsured (or underinsured) homeowner caused your injury or damages, you have a couple options:

  • File a lawsuit – You can sue the homeowner directly and try to collect if the court awards a judgment in your favor. But this is often difficult if they have limited assets.

  • Rely on your own insurance – For property damage, your homeowners or auto policy may cover losses if the other party is uninsured. For injuries, you may need to use your health or disability insurance.

  • Settle out of court – The at-fault party may voluntarily agree to pay your expenses out-of-pocket if the amounts are low enough. Get any payment agreement in writing.

  • Chalk it up as a loss – If amounts are low and the other party is unwilling or unable to pay, you may need to cover the costs yourself.

Having uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage on your own auto policy can help pay for injuries caused by drivers with no insurance. But there are very limited options when an uninsured homeowner causes your damages.

Other Frequently Asked Questions

Can I file a claim if the injury happened off the homeowner’s property?

Liability policies only apply to incidents that happen on the insured’s property or were directly caused by the policyholder’s actions. So if your injury occurred away from their home and was not their fault, their insurer would not cover damages.

What if the homeowner refuses to share their policy information with me?

You could choose to file a lawsuit and utilize the legal discovery process to obtain their policy details. Or your own insurer may be able to assist in getting the information you need to submit a liability claim.

What if the insurance company denies my claim?

If your claim is denied, ask the insurer to provide the specific reasons for the denial in writing. Review this carefully and discuss your options with an attorney. You may be able to provide additional evidence to reverse the denial, or you can consider filing a lawsuit against the policyholder.

Can I sue the insurance company directly if they deny my claim?

You cannot directly sue a homeowner’s insurance company. You can only take legal action against the policyholder who caused your damages. If you obtain a judgment against them in court, their insurer may then be obligated to pay up to the policy limits.

What if the homeowners insurance does not fully cover my damages?

You can try negotiating with the claims adjuster for a higher settlement within the policy limits. If that fails, your only option is to take legal action against the homeowner for the remaining uncompensated damages.

The Bottom Line

Can I file a claim against my own homeowner’s insurance if I was injured repairing my home?


What not to say to homeowners insurance adjuster?

Admitting Fault, Even Partial Fault. Avoid any language that could be construed as apologetic or blameful. Admitting any level of fault can eliminate or reduce the compensation that may be available.

What are the cons of filing a homeowners insurance claim?

Any claim, even a minor one, may lead to an increase in your home insurance premium. Having frequent or repeat claims might cause a property insurer to nonrenew your policy.

What is damage to the property of others?

Damage to the property of others is typically part of homeowners insurance. It covers damage to property and liability or legal responsibility for bodily injury or property damage that policyholders or family members cause to other people. It also covers damage caused by household pets.

Should I talk to the other insurance company after an accident UK?

Yes, if the accident was a minor one – a fender bender or slight dent. If you are completely sure that any injuries or damage are minor or nonexistent and it is clear that the driver of the other vehicle was responsible, it may not be a bad idea to talk to the other insurance company.

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