House Fire Damage

8 Replies

Over a month ago, there was a house that caught fire which extended to my rental property.  It only effected the siding of the house with some electrical damage.  Also, the door got busted in by the fire dept.  The house on fire apparently has been vacant for about 1 year, but has full insurance coverage.  When I talked to the investigator on site, he suspected insurance fraud, although this is not conclusive.  I gave him my information and immediately called my insurance company.  My deductible is $5000, and after depreciation, my check would be next to nothing.    Thing is, it's been over month, and haven't heard back.  Had to fix the door immediately, however the tenants are not happy about the aesthesics of the house.  It's still livable, just some electrical damage on that side of the house.  I estimate the damage to be around $6,200.  I looked up the owners on the tax assessor website, and googled them.  They are a elderly couple in their 80s, one of which died in 2009.  Don't how to get in touch with the other owner.  For all I know, both could have passed (reason for the vacancy) and inherited by the kids.  What are my options?  How do I find out who their insurance company is?  I read that policy information is private and not in public records.  Should I get a lawyer and handle this in court??  But I'm afraid the court fees may overshadow the repair fees.  Or should I just suck it up and repair it myself out-of-pocket, which to me sounds insane since my property had nothing to do with the fire.   

@Ade Adesuyi  

IF the other house was insured, and can find who the insurance company is, you would have the damaged covered under the General Liability portion of the policy.  You can file direct to the insurance carrier if their property caused damage to your property.  You would have very little out of pocket as long as you and the insurance carrier can come to an agreement on the value of the loss.

Insurance info may be private but if you present a claim to the rightful insurance carrier, they need to respond to the claim.  You do not need to go through the owners to do this. 

Get assertive and get in contact with those owners.  If they can just get you the name of the insurance carrier, that is all you need.  Let me know if you need any other help on it.  good luck.

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You might try calling a real estate agent and see if they can look up the owner. They may be able to find their contact info. Or maybe a title company. You will probably have to pay for this service, but it might work.

Ask your insurance carrier. They must have a way of finding out who an owner is and be able to contact them. This type of thing probably happens a lot.

Also, try talking to other neighbors. If the owners lived in that house at some point, they may know them.

@Ade Adesuyi  

I forgot to add that if you can get the name of the insurance agent, and present the claim to them, they have a legal obligation to file the claim.  The owner of the property and the insurance agent do not have the right to decide which claims are presented to the insurance carrier and which are not.

Bam!!!  Got it!  Did one of the those online people finder services and talked to a younger individual (not an 86 year old woman).  She actually turned out to be very helpful and forthcoming and gave me her insurance carrier, agent's info, and claim number.  Thanks for all your help and info.  Always nice to turn to BP when you find your self stuck.