Even those who get along with their neighbours like a house on fire (pun not intended), may find themselves feeling disgruntled if their property is damaged and they feel their neighbour is at fault.
But is your neighbour really to blame and where does this leave you when claiming on your home insurance?
‘It’s their fault!’
As far as your insurance policy is concerned, your neighbour would only be deemed ‘at fault’ if it can be proven that they have been negligent. However, what you deem negligent and what your insurer deems negligent may well be two different things.
For example, you live next to a gentleman who happens to be smoker. One evening he falls asleep whilst smoking and this causes a fire in his property. Luckily, he gets out unharmed but before the fire can be controlled and extinguished it spreads to your property, causing extensive fire and smoke damage.
You may think your neighbour has been negligent, surely, he should have taken more care when smoking, right? It is unlikely the insurance company would agree.
Within an insurance claim, your neighbour would only be deemed ‘negligent’ should they have had ample time and warning to prevent an event from happening but did nothing about it or could have taken reasonable steps to mitigate the damage and didn’t.
In more technical terms, negligence is ‘any act or omission which falls short of a standard to be expected of “the reasonable man”.’ (Negligence | Practical Law (thomsonreuters.com))
Your neighbour could not have foreseen the fire and therefore he cannot be deemed negligent. The fire was an accident and, after all, isn’t that what you have insurance for?
Can I claim through my neighbour’s insurance?
In most cases, it is advised to claim through your own insurance policy as your policy will be more suited to your needs. Making a claim through a third-party insurance policy can be extremely difficult as you are not the policyholder and therefore do not have authority to speak with the insurer or make a complaint should a problem arise.
Not only this, but your insurance company have the right to legally pursue a third party that caused a loss resulting in an insurance claim. This is known as subrogation. This means your insurance company will do the work to recover losses, once your claim is settled and your property is reinstated, if they feel the third-party is at fault.
How Aspray can help
Navigating an insurance policy can be a minefield if you do not have any prior insurance knowledge. There are lots of different definitions applied to words and phrases within your policy that may make understanding what you can and cannot claim for a little more difficult, but help is on hand at Aspray.
Our aim to reduce the hassle of your claim, letting you get on with the important things in life. Your dedicated loss assessor will negotiate your claim directly with your insurer, ensuring a fair settlement is achieved and if available, Aspray will provide your insurers with third-party details enabling them to make a recovery, where possible. The reinstatement works are then carried out by our trusted and vetted contractors, returning your home to its pre-loss condition as swiftly as possible.
Need to make an insurance claim for damage to your property? Contact Aspray