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Property Damage

Definition - What does Property Damage mean?

Property damage is damage to a person's property which occurs from the negligent actions of another person. Whether or not the actions were negligent or willful, if your property has been damaged, you have the legal right to seek compensation for the damage. Under liability law you also may be allowed compensation for your property loss even if you did not suffer personal injury.

For instance, if someone runs into you and you fall, causing your cell phone to slip out of your pocket and crack, you may be entitled to a replacement phone even if you were not injured in the fall.

Receiving compensation from your own insurance company

Whether you will have to file a claim with your own insurance company for property damage or another person's policy will depend on who is responsible for the loss. For instance, if you accidentally run into a tree and damage your car, your insurance company may be responsible for repairing your property. If someone hits you and you run into a tree, their insurance company may pay for the damages.

Filing a property loss claim

Before filing a claim you need to assess the damages and determine the value of the asset. You also need as much evidence as possible to substantiate your claim. Evidence can include pictures with a date and time stamp, serial numbers for the assets, original receipts for the damaged items, or estimates for the cost of repair. It is also important to save the damaged item. If the loss is from a crime be sure and get a copy of the police report.

Keep in mind, the insurance company will expect you to do whatever is necessary to limit the damage to your property. For instance, if your water heater breaks and gallons of water are seeping through your house the insurance company will expect you to move furniture and call a plumber as soon as possible.

Do I take the first offer for property damage?

If you are negotiating a settlement after a personal injury which has caused property damage it is important to remember it is a negotiation.

In fact, at first, the insurance adjuster may offer as little money as possible. However, if you have done your homework- collected evidence, taken pictures, limited further damage, and substantiated the value of your claim- they may be willing to offer a higher settlement amount.

If the final settlement offer does not cover the loss of your property, you may need to talk to a lawyer and discuss your options.

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