Can I file a claim with the previous owner’s insurance company?

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Jeffrey Johnson is a legal writer with a focus on personal injury. He has worked on personal injury and sovereign immunity litigation in addition to experience in family, estate, and criminal law. He earned a J.D. from the University of Baltimore and has worked in legal offices and non-profits in Maryland, Texas, and North Carolina. He has also earned an MFA in screenwriting from Chapman Univer...

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UPDATED: Mar 19, 2014

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Insurance Question from Foster, OH

Asked on 03/19/2014

Can I file a claim with the previous owner’s insurance company? I am considering buying a house on a short sale. During the inspection, the inspector found obvious wind and hail damage to the roof. Since it is a short sale, the bank is not moving on the price or giving any remedy for the roof. So, my thought was to buy the house, then, since the damage was done prior to me taking ownership, file a claim for the damaged roof with the previous owner's insurance company (paying the deductible myself if necessary). Do you know if that is possible? or if it has been tried before?

Answer given on April 08, 2014

Homeowner insurance is intended to reimburse or repair a home owned and damaged by the insured party.If the home was damaged prior to your purchase, and you are aware of the damage, your insurance company will deny any claim you submit for prior damage. The claim needs to be filed by the current owner.If the bank is owner of the property they could file a claim with the insurance they have obtained for the property. However, since many times that insurance is through a company that they may own or manage, they may be unwilling to file such a claim against their own company. If the damage occurred before they took back the home, it may be possible to file a claim with the insurance company that covered the home when the foreclosed owner had it. You should contact the bank to see if they can contact the prior insurance company and file a claim for the roof damage. They may refuse, but they may give you the name of that insurance company and you could contact them to see if they will accept a claim from you.

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