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Insurance deductible question - Landlord Forum thread 359320

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Insurance deductible question by Edward on May 16, 2019 @15:23

Last July, my neighbor's tenant's car caught on fire in their driveway. The heat from that fire melted the vinyl siding of my rental property (the houses are very close together).

I received a settlement from my insurance company, who told me they would pursue the neighbor's insurance provider to reclaim the funds that were paid to me and my $2500 deductible, and that "it would take awhile".

Now, 10 months later, they are saying that they can't (or won't) attempt to contact the neighbor's insurer because there's nothing in the fire department's report to prove the fire was caused by "negligence".

Does anyone know anything about this type of insurance claim? Maybe they can't determine how the fire started but isn't the owner of the vehicle (or property) responsible?

Is there anything I can do besides eat the $2500?

Thanks (this is NJ, BTW)

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Re: Insurance deductible question by Garry on May 16, 2019 @17:46 [ Reply ]
In today's climate of "anyone, can sue anybody, for anything, at any time" yes, you could sue the owner of the car, if that is where the fire originated. Your ins.comp. has done what you paid them to do. They covered the fire damage to your rental, except for the deductible, which you chose to pay, if a fire ever happened. Your ins. comp is under no obligation to try to get your $2500 back for you.

Your ins. comp., for whatever reason, has chosen not to try to get back the money they paid out on your behalf. That was their decision. You, on the other hand, can sue the car's owner for the $2500 that you are out, in small claims court. However, you will need all the proof you can find, about the car's owner, and the fire and police dept's reports about the fire. Gather up all your proof, and proceed to court, and hope that you win.

The way I read your post, the neighbors house is a rental, also. You could not sue that owner of that rental property unless you could prove the fire originated from the home, and not the car, which, apparently, is owned by their tenant. Most all states require vehicle owners to carry at least liability ins. You would need to find out if that car's owner had insurance at the time of the fire. If they did not, you could still sue the owner of the car, but if they have no money or job to garnish, you may out of luck.

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