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Dog damaged neighbors car, want your input.

  1. Nov 25, 2013 #1
    Hi PF:

    So I had an incident with a neighbor about a month ago. The long story short is my dog was on a leash in the back yard, leash was tied to one of those sprial "stakes" that thread in to the ground. The dog saw something (neighborhood is full of squirrels), managed to pull the stake out of the ground, chased the squirrel in to my neighbors driveway, the stake was dragged behind and did some damage to the car door.

    Neighbor calls the police next day, police leave their card on my house door, I call the officer and explain what happened (and that it was my fault, etc.) and offer to pay for any damages. Officer then leaves this (a quote from a repair shop that my neighbor forwarded to the officer) on my door yesterday:


    What does "INSURANCE PAY" refer to? Who's insurance? How much out of pocket am I responsible for? (I'm willing to pay the entire $815.00 since this accident was avoidable but the insurance thing is confusing)...

    Thanks for the help!
  2. jcsd
  3. Nov 25, 2013 #2


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    Good question. Did you ever give your insurance information to anyone (I guess it would be under your homeowner's insurance)? If not, I think it must be the car owner's insurance. They must have that rarely-evoked "Crazed Dog Chasing A Squirrel" coverage.

    Nice to hear you're taking responsibility for your dog o:)!

    Btw...jeez how big is your dog?!
  4. Nov 25, 2013 #3


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    Oh and btw:

    This claim could raise the car owner's monthly rates. To avoid that, and to be on extra-good-terms with the neighbor, you could offer to cover the $815 cost. That would be extra o:)o:)o:) though. But if you plan to stay in this neighborhood for a while, it would be an excellent investment in goodwill.
  5. Nov 25, 2013 #4
    No never gave any insurance information to anyone, never spoke to the neighbor and only spoke to one officer via phone call while giving my side of the story...

    So the car owners insurance pays for it and that's it? No out of pocket for me as the Deductible is $0?
  6. Nov 25, 2013 #5


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    I'd recommend that you get your homeowner's insurance agent talking with your neighbor's car insurance agent. That should get you the best information on what your personal out-of-pocket costs should be.
  7. Nov 25, 2013 #6
    I'm thinking that if the repair shop knows what portion an insurance company will pay, and you did not provide them with any info about your own insurance, they must be referring to the car owner's insurance.

    This makes me wonder: if they have insurance for this sort of damage and are planning to make a claim, why should you pay anything? If you are willing to pay it all, then any claim they make will be scamming their insurance co.

    As berkeman said, I think you should make sure you are in touch with their insurance company.
  8. Nov 25, 2013 #7


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    If you are rich enough to just hand some dollar bills over the garden fence and shake hands, go right ahead, but ...

    In the UK, if the car owner wanted to claim on the car policy, the car insurer (not the car owner or the police) would assess the damage, get a quote from its choice of repairer (again, not the car owner's choice), and decide whether to pay out for the repair or just buy the car at its market value and scrap it.

    Since you have admitted liability, the car insurer would then take steps to recover its costs from you. If you wanted to make a claim on your house or pet insurance, you would give that information to the car insurer (again, not the car owner or the police) and let them fight it out between themselves.

    Certainly in the UK, I wouldn't pay any cash direct to the owner until I had written evidence they were not going to make a claim on their car insurance. Again under the UK system, strictly speaking they are legally required to inform the owner about the incident, as a "material fact" that could affect the risk level of future claims, even if they inform the insurer at the same time that they are not making a claim.

    In other words, you don't need to get in touch with the car insurance company - they will get in touch with you!

    US practices may be different, of course.

    As for the police involvement, again in the UK I would assume the main relevance of the police giving you a repair estimate would be in relation to any decision to prosecute you for criminal or civil damage, not for insurance purposes.
  9. Nov 26, 2013 #8


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    I think this is just an expectation. When I had body work quoted all of my quotes assumed insurance would cover them and I never gave any insurance info. I'm sure your neighbor got it quoted, and the body shop assumed his insurance would cover it. This is just evidence that he didn't bother to tell the story to the body shop.

    The right thing to do is for you to pay for the damage. You might try your homeowner's insurance company first, however, coverage is pretty much limited to your property, so my guess is that they'd deny this claim.
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