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Broken water heater in townhome - leaked into neighbors unit

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We live in a townhome in California. My water heater busted and flooded my laundry room and part of my garage and leaked into my neighbors unit.

My neighbor had some damage as far as needing some dehumidifiers etc. for about a week and some damage to possessions her in garage which is just a mess.

Her daughter is the owner of the unit and she rents it from her and also has renters insurance.   My insurance is telling me that I am not responsible for damage done to her unit because I did nothing wrong.  That statement to me doesn't make sense at all.  I would assume that if something in my house broke and damaged someone else's unit, my insurance would have to cover it.

i just got a letter to "responsible party" saying that I may be legally responsible for the loss etc.  I am going to turn the letter over to my insurance but just looking into some insight as to how this may play out? What to look out for? How to proceed? 

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rated:
Luniz97 said:   We live in a townhome in California. My water heater busted and flooded my laundry room and part of my garage and leaked into my neighbors unit.

My neighbor had some damage as far as needing some dehumidifiers etc. for about a week and some damage to possessions her in garage which is just a mess.

Her daughter is the owner of the unit and she rents it from her and also has renters insurance.   My insurance is telling me that I am not responsible for damage done to her unit because I did nothing wrong.  That statement to me doesn't make sense at all.  I would assume that if something in my house broke and damaged someone else's unit, my insurance would have to cover it.

i just got a letter to "responsible party" saying that I may be legally responsible for the loss etc.  I am going to turn the letter over to my insurance but just looking into some insight as to how this may play out? What to look out for? How to proceed? 

  Your insurance co is correct.  A sudden and unexpected thing like this just isn't anybody's fault and your own insurance pays for your own stuff.  The same as your tree falling unexpectedly on your neighbors house.

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Once, I had a water leak from the unit above and my neighbor's insurance covered my losses.

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Treffen said:   
Luniz97 said:   We live in a townhome in California. My water heater busted and flooded my laundry room and part of my garage and leaked into my neighbors unit.

My neighbor had some damage as far as needing some dehumidifiers etc. for about a week and some damage to possessions her in garage which is just a mess.

Her daughter is the owner of the unit and she rents it from her and also has renters insurance.   My insurance is telling me that I am not responsible for damage done to her unit because I did nothing wrong.  That statement to me doesn't make sense at all.  I would assume that if something in my house broke and damaged someone else's unit, my insurance would have to cover it.

i just got a letter to "responsible party" saying that I may be legally responsible for the loss etc.  I am going to turn the letter over to my insurance but just looking into some insight as to how this may play out? What to look out for? How to proceed? 

  Your insurance co is correct.  A sudden and unexpected thing like this just isn't anybody's fault and your own insurance pays for your own stuff.  The same as your tree falling unexpectedly on your neighbors house.

  So should I not worry about this letter I got besides forwarding to my insurance?

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Luniz97 said:   
Treffen said:   
Luniz97 said:   We live in a townhome in California. My water heater busted and flooded my laundry room and part of my garage and leaked into my neighbors unit.

My neighbor had some damage as far as needing some dehumidifiers etc. for about a week and some damage to possessions her in garage which is just a mess.

Her daughter is the owner of the unit and she rents it from her and also has renters insurance.   My insurance is telling me that I am not responsible for damage done to her unit because I did nothing wrong.  That statement to me doesn't make sense at all.  I would assume that if something in my house broke and damaged someone else's unit, my insurance would have to cover it.

i just got a letter to "responsible party" saying that I may be legally responsible for the loss etc.  I am going to turn the letter over to my insurance but just looking into some insight as to how this may play out? What to look out for? How to proceed? 

  Your insurance co is correct.  A sudden and unexpected thing like this just isn't anybody's fault and your own insurance pays for your own stuff.  The same as your tree falling unexpectedly on your neighbors house.

  So should I not worry about this letter I got besides forwarding to my insurance?

  It's human nature to worry about stuff but I wouldn't do anything but forward it to my insurance and let them handle it. ASAP

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So could they sue me?

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it is not like a lightning strike, they can say it wasnt maintained properly.  Your insurance should cover it.  give them your insurance info, unless you dont have coverage for damaging others property the isurance  has to payl
years ago  ilived in an apt wand water leaked into a closet in a multi story building.  The owner where the leak occurred was responsible.

 

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Luniz97 said:   So could they sue me?
  You/They can sue anyone in California.

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You need to look at the HOA governing documents to determine who will be held responsible for the damage. In my case, I am responsible for any damage that results from the failure of any equipment within my unit, as well as the failure of any pipes that service my unit alone as opposed to multiple units. Most likely, this is going to be your responsibility because the failure occurred in your unit. Your choices are to pay for it yourself or turn it over to your insurance.

My next-door neighbor had a leaking hot water pipe that damaged my floors. I made the mistake of reporting it to my insurance to get the damage fixed, but it turned out it was her responsibility and her insurer reimbursed mine.

My upstairs neighbor had a pipe Spring a leak that flowed into my unit. I notified them of the damage and their insurance took care of it. My insurer did not get involved.

Be aware your insurer will likely raise your premiums if you report damage. Apparently it makes no difference who is at fault. The insurers share a database called CLUE or similar and use it to jack up rates on anyone who dares to actually use the insurance they paid for. I reported this to the state insurance board and they didn't care. It's as if the insurers want customers to keep the damage secret and either pay for it out-of-pocket or just let the property deteriorate further, which is incredibly dumb.

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cleanbeat said:   Be aware your insurer will likely raise your premiums if you report damage. Apparently it makes no difference who is at fault. The insurers share a database called CLUE or similar and use it to jack up rates on anyone who dares to actually use the insurance they paid for. I reported this to the state insurance board and they didn't care. It's as if the insurers want customers to keep the damage secret and either pay for it out-of-pocket or just let the property deteriorate further, which is incredibly dumb.
  This. Better to get as high deductible as possible and self insurance up to that

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I had a high deductible of $2500, but the damage to my unit alone was over 4k for walls, flooring,etc not including any personal items. I just reduced the deductible to $1k and it was an extra 50 a year for the future realizing that if something happened to my neighbor and it messed up my unit, id be in for another 2500.

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Cleanbeat is correct. See if there are any governing documents saying you are responsible. If there aren't, then your neighbor's insurance is responsible for her damage. Your insurance may offer to pay her deductible in good faith since it was your hot water heater. Similar thing happened between me and my neighbor when my tree fell on both of our sheds.

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Luniz97 said:   So could they sue me?
  Your insurance company would defend you then.  Unless it is small claims and then you need to go yourself but they should help with what to say and expect.

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Luniz97 said:   My insurance is telling me that I am not responsible for damage done to her unit because I did nothing wrong.  
Of course they would say that so as not to have to pay out to the neighbour but it's BS. What has "doing anything wrong" have to do with it. The cause of the damage was from something on your property. Perhaps you could sue the water heater manufacturer or the plumber that installed it but that's a stretch. 

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atikovi said:   
Luniz97 said:   My insurance is telling me that I am not responsible for damage done to her unit because I did nothing wrong.  
Of course they would say that so as not to have to pay out to the neighbour but it's BS. What has "doing anything wrong" have to do with it. The cause of the damage was from something on your property. Perhaps you could sue the water heater manufacturer or the plumber that installed it but that's a stretch. 

  
It's not BS, it's how insurance works. This is why you carry homeowner's insurance or renter's insurance. Not just for accidents you cause, but for accidents caused by anything under the sun (except floods, that's different!).

Doing anything thing wrong has EVERYTHING to do with it. Just because you FEEL like your neighbor wronged you in some way in an accident where they had no negligence, doesn't make it so. The cause of damage was an inanimate object that failed due to no fault of the OP. He holds no responsibility whatsoever.

Consider this example. Let's say the OP's house was built on weak ground and all of a sudden, it fell over on top of his neighbor's house and completely demolished it. Who's is going to pay for a completely new house for the neighbor? OP's insurance is paying for his house that fell over because that's what was insured. The neighbor has to use his own insurance to pay for his house. You wouldn't expect OP's insurance to pay for both houses, would you? Now just dial that extreme example back to a leaky water heater and it makes more sense.

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meade18 said:   Consider this example. Let's say the OP's house was built on weak ground and all of a sudden, it fell over on top of his neighbor's house and completely demolished it. Who's is going to pay for a completely new house for the neighbor? OP's insurance is paying for his house that fell over because that's what was insured. The neighbor has to use his own insurance to pay for his house. You wouldn't expect OP's insurance to pay for both houses, would you? Now just dial that extreme example back to a leaky water heater and it makes more sense.
  So lets say a window falls out of a highrise and kills or injures somebody on the ground. The building owner isn't responsible? The building owners insurance will pay to replace the window but pays nothing to the victim or his family? The victim has to use their owner medical or life insurance?

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atikovi said:   
meade18 said:   Consider this example. Let's say the OP's house was built on weak ground and all of a sudden, it fell over on top of his neighbor's house and completely demolished it. Who's is going to pay for a completely new house for the neighbor? OP's insurance is paying for his house that fell over because that's what was insured. The neighbor has to use his own insurance to pay for his house. You wouldn't expect OP's insurance to pay for both houses, would you? Now just dial that extreme example back to a leaky water heater and it makes more sense.
  So lets say a window falls out of a highrise and kills or injures somebody on the ground. The building owner isn't responsible? The building owners insurance will pay to replace the window but pays nothing to the victim or his family? The victim has to use their owner medical or life insurance?

^^^  
apples to oranges

instead, let's say a window falls out of a highrise and goes through the windshield of your car or the skylight of your living room. your car insurance or homeowners insurance pays for your loss. if your insurance company decides that there was likely negligence on the part of the other party, they could go after them if they felt it was worth it.

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My water heater was less than 10 years old because the homes were only built 10 years ago but was out of warranty. Now if the water heater didn't get replaced in 20 years would it be negligence?

My claims agent explained that if you knew there was a leak and didn't take care of it for months, then it was being negligent but since it leaked sometime overnight and you immediately took care of it in the morning then its not obviously.

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meade18 said:   
atikovi said:   
meade18 said:   Consider this example. Let's say the OP's house was built on weak ground and all of a sudden, it fell over on top of his neighbor's house and completely demolished it. Who's is going to pay for a completely new house for the neighbor? OP's insurance is paying for his house that fell over because that's what was insured. The neighbor has to use his own insurance to pay for his house. You wouldn't expect OP's insurance to pay for both houses, would you? Now just dial that extreme example back to a leaky water heater and it makes more sense.
  So lets say a window falls out of a highrise and kills or injures somebody on the ground. The building owner isn't responsible? The building owners insurance will pay to replace the window but pays nothing to the victim or his family? The victim has to use their owner medical or life insurance?

^^^  
apples to oranges

instead, let's say a window falls out of a highrise and goes through the windshield of your car or the skylight of your living room. your car insurance or homeowners insurance pays for your loss. if your insurance company decides that there was likely negligence on the part of the other party, they could go after them if they felt it was worth it.

Both are fruits, so what? A window doesn't fall out of a highrise for no reason. My first reaction would be to contact the building owner for compensation as I don't carry comp or collision. Tried to find a Seinfeld clip where the pigman jumps out of a hospital window and lands on Georges's car so George goes to the hospital administrator for compensation, but can't find one. That would apply here.

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atikovi said:   
meade18 said:   
atikovi said:   
meade18 said:   Consider this example. Let's say the OP's house was built on weak ground and all of a sudden, it fell over on top of his neighbor's house and completely demolished it. Who's is going to pay for a completely new house for the neighbor? OP's insurance is paying for his house that fell over because that's what was insured. The neighbor has to use his own insurance to pay for his house. You wouldn't expect OP's insurance to pay for both houses, would you? Now just dial that extreme example back to a leaky water heater and it makes more sense.
  So lets say a window falls out of a highrise and kills or injures somebody on the ground. The building owner isn't responsible? The building owners insurance will pay to replace the window but pays nothing to the victim or his family? The victim has to use their owner medical or life insurance?

^^^  
apples to oranges

instead, let's say a window falls out of a highrise and goes through the windshield of your car or the skylight of your living room. your car insurance or homeowners insurance pays for your loss. if your insurance company decides that there was likely negligence on the part of the other party, they could go after them if they felt it was worth it.

Both are fruits, so what? A window doesn't fall out of a highrise for no reason. My first reaction would be to contact the building owner for compensation as I don't carry comp or collision. Tried to find a Seinfeld clip where the pigman jumps out of a hospital window and lands on Georges's car so George goes to the hospital administrator for compensation, but can't find one. That would apply here.

  
A+++ for Seinfeld reference. Not sure why you are using it for your argument though. I'm pretty sure George didn't get any money from the hospital. Plus, if you are aspiring to live your life like George Costanza, I feel very sorry for you! lol

Respectfully, I have to disagree. Things happen for no reason all the time. Just ask the OP. There is no reason his water heater should have busted and flooded his and his neighbor's property. Sometimes, things just happen. Not everything is somebody's "fault." I don't know the exact time Americans started thinking this way, but it is fairly recent and it's one of those things I wish we could turn back.

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