E.L. from Middlesex County, Connecticut writes:
Dear Mister Condo,
Water damaged condo below mine. Work done in the bathroom by the previous owner of my condo was done improperly. There was no negligence on my part. My insurance company is denying the claim and wants the unit owner with the damage to file the claim with his insurance company, which he is refusing. What do I do?
Mister Condo replies:
E.L., this is a most unfortunate situation with lots of finger pointing and no action. The bottom line is that the claim may need to head to court or alternative dispute resolution (ADR) before the matter is settled. In my opinion, the unit owner with the damage should file a claim with his own insurer so that the damage can be remedied in timely fashion. I realize that this may cause his premiums to rise but that is what insurance is for. An accident happened and the insurance should pay for the mitigation. As for the actual cause of the damage, that is a case for the insurance companies to battle out. At the heart of the matter is money. Neither your insurer nor the unit owner with damage want to open their wallet to pay for the repair. The unit owner below is the most affected by this and could seek relief from his insurer who will pay for the repair, less any deductible, and then come after you or your insurer for the money. This is what insurance is for. Your neighbor’s only other option is to sue you for the damage which may cost far more than simply putting in a claim. I think I would wait and see how this plays out. You may wish to consult with an attorney for a legal opinion but I think that you have done all you can do at this point. Your neighbor’s refusal to seek relief through his own insurance is not a good idea. Good luck!