Do I have a valid defense against an insurance company seeking to subrogate a claim paid out and demanding I pay for repairs?

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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 28, 2013

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Insurance Question from Adams, NC

Asked on 03/28/2013

Do I have a valid defense against an insurance company seeking to subrogate a claim paid out and demanding I pay for repairs? I am the tenant at the property in question. Had a kitchen grease fire, my fault. The repair estimates were mishandled by the adjuster, no competitive quotes were obatined. One repair estimate was for work that does not exist. The contractor is a friend of the landlord. I do not believe the estimates are reasonable and will not pay for these repairs beyond what I believe is an equitable amount. In this case, 3K dollars. The repair bill is likely to be over $8K dollars.

Answer given on April 26, 2013

If you cause a fire in the residence that you are renting, the insurance company for your landlord will settle the damage claim with the landlord. After all is settled, they may come after the party who caused the loss.If you had renters insurance, that policy will protect you under the liability portion of the policy. You should contact your insurance agent or company and report the claim to them. Let them work out the claim with the other insurance company. If your company does not feel you were negligent, then they will deny the claim to the other insurance company.If you don’t have renters insurance, you may be responsible for the damages. You should try to work with the insurance company and see if they will work out a settlement with you. If you refuse to settle with them, they may take you to court where you could find yourself responsible for the damages paid out.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: These answers are for general information purposes only and are provided by the person answering and AS IS. It has not necessarily been reviewed by the management staff of nor is it binding any insurance agent, broker, or other insurance professional or any attorney or insurance company. Insurance laws, regulations and practices vary from state to state and insurance policies and practices differ from company to company, by type of policy, by state and locality and by type of insurance. Tiny variations in the facts, policy language or a detail not set forth in a question often can change the outcome or a professional's conclusion. Although has confirmed that the answer(s) was/were provided for the account of an experienced insurance professional, that professional may not be licensed in the state referred to in the question, and may not be experienced or up to date in the subject area. Unlike the answers provided here, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you consult a licensed insurance professional in your area or retain a licensed attorney listed on to represent you.

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