How to proceed when neighbor's contractor damages your property

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The Hoods had an issue with their neighbor's contractor that damaged their property. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5) The Hoods had an issue with their neighbor's contractor that damaged their property. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)

A Peoria man says his neighbor's contractor damaged his property and the contractor is nowhere to be found. How should you handle this delicate situation with your neighbor?

Of course, the contractor is responsible for the damage they caused, but if they're unlicensed, they may also be uninsured and could blow off their responsibility. In that case, your neighbor (who hired the contractor) and your neighbor's insurer should step up.

Larry and Kay Hood say their neighbor's tree-trimming contractor dropped a branch on their carport awning causing two panels to separate. Larry Hood is worried about monsoon rains.

"It'll hit the car and come down and might even go underneath the house if there's enough water at one time, and then we would be in trouble," Larry said.

Larry says, at first, the contractor, Martin's Curbing World, agreed to repair the damage, but then disappeared and hasn't returned phone calls in months. Larry doesn't want to put a claim through his own insurance company, and he shouldn't have to.

"They weren't working on my house. It was on her property. It was her tree," Larry said.

I offered to explain to Larry's neighbor (an elderly woman) the right way to handle a situation like this. If the contractor she hired wasn't doing the right thing and taking care of the damage, then she should allow Larry to run a claim through her insurer.

"I think she wants to do the right thing, yeah, she's a good neighbor," Larry said.

And part of being a good neighbor is knowing how to avoid potential trouble with contractors.

"I wouldn't hire somebody if they didn't have insurance or a license," Larry said.

An insurance agent told CBS 5 News something many consumers may not know. If Larry puts a claim through his own insurer, it falls under property damage and his deductible applies. But if he (or his neighbor) files through the neighbor's insurer, the claim falls under her liability coverage and, generally, no deductible would apply. The neighbor's rates could go up, but she wouldn't have any out of pocket expense to fix the damage caused by her contractor.

CBS 5 News reached out to Martin's Curbing World to remind him of his responsibility to fix the damage he caused. The company called Larry the same day, apologized for the delay and came out to his house the next day and repaired all the damage at their expense.

Our thanks to Martin's Curbing World for acknowledging their responsibility and doing the right thing.

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