Tuesday, September 4, 2012


My neighbor damaged my back yard, but won't file an insurance claim. What can I do?

Q: My neighbor damaged my back yard as the result of one of his do-it-yourself projects. Now he won't turn in a claim to his insurer. And he won't tell me who his insurer is. What can I do?

A: We get variations on this question a lot. Common ones involve a neighbor driving over a mailbox or into a fence. And we periodically get calls from people wondering if we have a database listing who insures who. (We don't.)

First, try to deal directly with your neighbor to get him to pay for the damage. If he's worried that the claim will drive up his premiums (or lead to his policy being cancelled), he may still be willing to compensate you for the sake of the relationship and to stave off the possibility of your taking him to court.

If that doesn't work, you can contact your agent or insurer to see if the damage is covered on your own policy. Or you could decide to take legal action against the neighbor, either in small claims or a higher court.

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