This can be a complicated issue. To simply just claim may require the neighbour to do have done something negligent. In the above picture a neighbour’s pipe has been leaking for a long time. If the neighbour is advised of the issue and doesn’t repair this could be deemed as negligence. You now have two choices:
- Simply retain a solicitor to sue the neighbour. This could take years and even if successful your neighbour could stretch out the payments over more years
- As the damage is being caused by a leaking pipe this is covered under your home insurance policy even though its coming from a neighbour. This is a much simpler process and will lead to a much quicker payout from the insurance company. Your insurance company may however need proof that the leak has been repaired and no further damage will occur.
In the second scenario above your insurance company having paid you, now has the right to seek a recovery from your neighbour. It will be a condition in your policy that you must cooperate and provide your insurer with full details. Your insurance company will use their solicitor to take this action. You can also retain this solicitor for your own ‘uninsured losses’.
Examples of uninsured losses
- Excess on the policy (normally €650 for standard houses but could be as high as €2000 in apartments)
- Loss Assessors fees, If you have retained a loss assessor to negotiate your claim with your own insurer his/her fee is recoverable from the neighbour
- Time taken off work to deal with the issue won’t be covered under your own policy but can be claimed against the neighbour.
Other examples of third party claims
- Escape of oil from one property to another. As this is pollution a third party may not have to prove negligence as there is case law in favour of ‘polluter pays’
- Damage and cracks to walls caused by a neighbour carrying out building works. If you have accidental damage on your own policy then you can avail of option 2 above.
- A neighbours building catches fire and your property is smoke damaged. The vast majority of fires are deemed accidental and sometimes malicious. In either case your insurance company will pay for repairs required from smoke even if its from a neighbours property.
In all of the above scenarios, help from a professional in terms of dealing with a claim and advise on the best course of action cab be of great benefit. Property Claims Loss Assessors Ltd . deals with these situations on a daily basis.
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Neal Herr BE MIEI CIP