My Neighbor Started a Fire That Destroyed My Fence. Do I Have a Claim?

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‘I rent an apartment in a duplex in Eau Claire WI. My mother owns the building and I rent from her.
The neighbors have been trouble for years with their pit bull doing it’s business in my yard. I put up a temporary flimsy fence and the tenants at the duplex next door destroyed it. I bought a new fence this =
year. The tenants next door have a SUV that started on fire which then ignited their rental house (the vehicle sits between our two houses). The fire department destroyed my fence putting out the fire. I contacted the home owners (landlord’s) insurance and they said it’s the tenants insurance that I should be contacting because their vehicle caused the fire. I called the vehicle insurance and they said it is the responsibility of the company that installed the speakers in the SUV that day. The insurance of the speaker people will not return my call. I was told by the vehicle insurance people and the home insurance people that they are not responsible for my fence. I want my fence replaced. Who do I go to? None of the three companies will let me file a claim. I would prefer not to get a lawyer for a 100.00 fence but I only bought the thing to keep their dog out and since I have already paid for two fences, I shouldn’t have to pay for another due to the fire next
door. Please advise.’

[NOTE: Articles and answers on DearEsq., while written and published by lawyers, do not constitute legal advice, and no attorney-client relationship is formed by your reading of this information. You should always consult with an attorney for any legal situations.]

You do not have a policy with any of these insurance companies. Your claim is against the neighbors; either the landlord or the tenant. Their insurance company may step in and pay the claim, but that’s between them.

I would go to the neighbor or landlord (whichever you have a better relationship with, probably the landlord) and say you have tried to work with the insurance companies directly, as a convenience to them, but are getting the run-around. You just want $100 to replace your fence. If they don’t step up and pay you and/or submit a claim to the proper insurance company, your next stop is probably small claims court.

Of course, this could further deteriorate your relationship with the neighbors, so before you pull that trigger, you may want to consider whether it’s worth $100.

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Author: House Attorney

A house attorney has answered this question.