What happens if something happens prior to having homeowners insurance?

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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: Jul 24, 2014

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Insurance Question from Playa del Rey, CA

Asked on 07/24/2014

What happens if something happens prior to having homeowners insurance? I recently moved from a rental to purchasing a condo and before updating my insurance an incident happend in my new apartment. A washer was installed incorrectly causing a flood in the apartment below. The tenant below wishes to file a claim for the damaged caused. My insurance was not active at the time of the faulty instal (it is now). The installers were definitely at fault and I have the plumbers work invoice which states that fact. What do I tell the tenant below about how to proceed as I did not have insurance at the time? I have informed the installers about the issue waiting for reply

Answer given on July 28, 2014

If you did not have homeowner or condo insurance at the time of a water damage loss then it is up to you to make good on the damage to the tenant below. However, if the damage was due to a faulty installation of a washing machine, the installers would be responsible for the damages caused.Advise the tenant downstairs to file a claim with his insurance company, presuming he has insurance. His company will pay for his damages less the deductible. They will then come to you since you owned the unit. You can explain that the damage was caused by the installers of the washing machine and give the insurance company the name and information on the installation company.There is a possibility you did have insurance for the new property Insurance companies will usually give you 30 days coverage at a new location, provided you had not cancelled the other policy. If you didn’t cancel you can see if the insurance company will cover you for the loss. However, do not file a claim if you do not have to since even filing a claim could cause you to lose your loss free discount and your rates could go up. Try to get the installers to pay the damages.

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