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: Jan 17, 2013

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Insurance Question from Coffeetown, PA

Asked on 01/17/2013

Who is responsible for the deductible in a case of renters with no insurance? My son and his family live in a half of an attached home. The renters on the other side started a fire in their half and my son's half had smoke damage. They had to find another place to stay off and on for almost 2 weeks. They also had to get a restoration company in to handle the smoke damage. They have $1,000 deductible on their homeowners insurance. Why should they be responsible for paying that $1,000 when the fire and resulting restoration was someone else's fault? The renters had no rental insurance. In that case, isn't the landlord responsible for handling my son's deductible?

Answer given on January 21, 2013

If the other party on the other side of the residence has caused a fire that damaged your son’s property, as well as the need to live elsewhere during repairs, your son’s insurance company will pay for the damages less the deductible. The cost to live elsewhere during repairs is not subject to the deductible, so that expense should be fully covered by his insurance company.Your son’s insurance company can choose to subrogate against the other tenant for the damages paid and if they are succesful, then your son would get his deductible back. If not, then the deductible will stand.The landlord is not responsible as they had no invovlement with the fire damage. They would have to be held legally liable before their insurance would pay for any damages. It is doubtful there would be any legal responsibility found.If your son’s insurance company cannot or does not subrogate against the other renter, your son could take them to small claims court and try to recover his deductible. He would probably win, if the other party was negligent, but then recovering the money may not be so easy.


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