Bumped a neighbor's house over 2 yrs ago, now an insurance claim looms
June 29, 2014 6:06 PM Subscribe
I bent the metal railing and caused some cracks in the brick staircase. After talking with the owner of the house, nothing was done for over 2 years. Now the owner is considering a repair and has told me that he's gotten quotes for $4000. How should I respond to this situation to both protect myself and take responsibility for my actions?
posted by cubby to Human Relations (15 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I bumped into my neighbor's front steps with a car almost two years ago, bending a metal handrailing and introducing a crack to the brick staircase. At the time, I left a note in the mailbox and spoke to the renters. The owner of the house was out of the country. He returned a few months later; I spoke to him and let him know that I was willing to talk about repair costs and to let me know. He said ok, then nothing happened for about a year and a half. During that time, the owner moved back into the house and we said hello often. The staircase remained as it was when I hit it.
A few weeks ago, he let me know that he had been looking into the repair process, and had gotten some bids at around $4000 for the repair. Apparently, the entire staircase needs to be repaired. He wants me to contact my insurance company. He also said that he was wondering if he could go ahead with repairs using his contractor and bill my insurance (pretty sure that won't work). This is happening in MA, USA.
This raises some concerns and questions for me:
--does the time lapse between the accident happening and the claim matter?
--how can I know that $4000 is the actual repair cost? is it best to involve my insurance company and have them work that out?
--is it possible to avoid involving my insurance company (and the associated increase in my insurance premium), even if I can't afford $4000 out of pocket?
--is there anything I need to consider/account for/worry about in this situation to avoid getting a raw deal?
--how can I negotiate about this situation with the owner?
The owner is a pretty nice guy. My gut tells me that he isn't trying to fleece me, but I also wonder if I'm missing something.