Is damage caused by neighbours covered?

13 minute read Published on Aug 23, 2023 by BrokerLink Communications

Two neighbours talking to each other

No matter how prepared you may think you are, the unexpected can happen at any time. Many homeowners are concerned about whether their homeowner’s insurance covers damage caused by their neighbours. We understand how important it is to feel safe in your own space and how unexpected events can disrupt that peace. That's why we're here to shed some light on the subject and assist you in navigating the complexities of insurance coverage.

As a result, if you want to learn more, we are here to help and provide you with the clarity you’re in search of. Keep reading for more information!

Types of property damage covered by insurance

Although your home insurance may not explicitly state that when it comes to neighbour damages to your personal property, you'll be happy to know that, in most instances, your insurance company will offer protection when you file an insurance claim. As such, here is a closer look at some of the things covered by home insurance that you may not be aware of:

Fire damage

In most insurance policies, whether Toronto home insurance or home insurance in other parts of Canada, accidental damage caused by a fire will be covered. For example, in the unfortunate event that a house fire begins on your neighbour’s property and extends onto yours, causing damage, your insurance company will provide compensation for any damages or losses, including a replacement value of your personal belongings or the home itself.

Water damage

Water damage that is deemed your neighbours fault is also likely to be covered under your home insurance policy. For example, if your neighbours are known for poor maintenance practices in their garden, which often floods during heavy periods of rain, avoiding basement flooding as a result of this accumulated water may be difficult. In this case, your home insurance will provide coverage for any damages or losses that occur.

Accidental damage

Any accidental damage, whether it be to your garden, windows, or other areas of your property, is typically included in basic home insurance policies. Keep in mind that while it is essential to report any home damage that is caused by your neighbours, the amount of your deductible may exceed the cost of repairing the damage on your own.


Vandalism is generally covered by home insurance in Canada and can include acts such as breaking windows, damaging lawns, graffiti on walls, and even arson. Insurers usually offer coverage for these kinds of incidents as long as you aren't regarded as negligent. Negligence is commonly associated with rendering your property unattended with doors and windows unlocked, which may limit the scope of coverage. It's critical to go over your insurance policy to make sure that you grasp the particular conditions and terms for this type of damage.

Tree damage

High winds and other severe weather events can take a toll on your property, especially if you and your neighbour’s home are surrounded by tall trees. As such, in the event that this should occur, it is essential to note that standard home insurance policies do not cover this kind of damage. As such, it is absolutely crucial that homeowners ask their insurance company or broker to add on tree damage coverage, as it can save you hundreds to thousands of dollars in repairs in the event something like this should happen.

What to do if a neighbour damages your property

Accidents, whether intended or not, happen every day. Therefore, if you’re currently dealing with damage to your property as a result of your neighbour’s actions, it's essential that you follow the upcoming steps to ensure that when you file a claim or pursue legal action, you have the necessary documentation needed for successful reimbursement. Here is a closer look:

1. Speak with your neighbour

To begin, try to talk to your neighbour about what happened, expressing your dissatisfaction and what affect their actions have had on your property. It's possible they were unaware of the repercussions or the extent of the damage done. Keeping lines of communication open can often lead to a solution and their admitting accountability. In addition, they may also be more willing to reimburse you for any repairs or replacements without getting an insurance company involved.

2. Document the damage

When dealing with property damage caused by a neighbour, it is critical to document the damage with detailed photographs and gather any relevant proof. Photos provide evidence of the extent of the damage and can be used to support your case. Take clear images from various angles, highlighting areas of concern and any particular details that show the neighbour's oversight. Think about collecting any additional evidence related to the incident, such as witness statements, videos, or written correspondence, if available.

3. File a claim with your insurance company

If you are unable to resolve the conflict directly with your neighbour or if they are unwilling to accept responsibility for the damage, you may need to take another route and file a claim with your insurance provider. Contact your insurance company and provide them with any and all relevant details, including damage documentation and any evidence you have collected. Explain the circumstances in detail and express your desire to reach an amicable resolution with your neighbour.

Your insurance company will take you through the claims process, evaluate the coverage provided by your insurance coverage, and advise you on what steps to take next. It is critical that you fully cooperate with your insurance company, providing any further details or evidence of support that they may require. They will evaluate the claim on your behalf and determine the best course of action in order to resolve the situation and restore your property.

Is my neighbour automatically liable for damage caused to my property?

It is critical to understand in the context of Canadian homeownership that your neighbour is not automatically legally liable for any damage to your property. Property damage liability is determined by a variety of variables and circumstances associated with the occurrence.

For example, determining liability necessitates taking into account factors such as negligence, intentionality, and any breach of legal obligations. If your neighbour has been aware of an issue and has not dealt with it, this can be deemed their fault, however in the event of something sudden and accidental such as a fire, this can lead to the necessity of further investigations. If the damage is significant or the dispute cannot be resolved peacefully, seeking legal counsel or consulting with your insurance company can provide additional guidance on determining liability and pursuing the right course of action.

What if I can’t prove that the damage was my neighbour's fault?

If you are unable to prove that your neighbour caused the damage to your property, you may be in a difficult situation. While it can be aggravating, it is critical to approach the problem correctly moving forward. There are two steps after you have collected your evidence that you should take if this happens:

1. Seek a professional opinion

Consider hiring a professional, such as a contractor, a repair specialist, or a property inspector. Their expertise can assist in determining the cause of what has happened and providing insight into whether it has been brought about by your neighbour's actions. When discussing the situation with your neighbour or insurance company, their opinion may be influential.

2. Speak with your insurance company

Remember, contacting your insurance provider to discuss the situation and get advice is absolutely essential if any damage occurs to your property. While your neighbour's liability may not be proven, your insurance policy may still cover the damage under certain conditions. Your insurance provider can assist you in understanding your policy's coverage and advise you on the following steps to take.

Resolving any conflicts between you or your neighbour as respectfully as possible is always the best-case scenario. However, not all neighbours are willing to admit that they are in the wrong. When in doubt, always speak to a professional insurance provider and/or legal counsel to ensure you have the correct information regarding your circumstances.

Will my neighbour’s home insurance cover damage to my property?

In most cases, your neighbour's home insurance policy will not cover damage to your property. Home insurance is intended to protect the policyholder's personal property while also providing liability coverage for incidents or accidents that occur on their property. Because your property is regarded as separate and independent from your neighbours, it is your responsibility to obtain sufficient protection for it.

However, there are some circumstances in which your neighbour's home insurance may come into play. For example, if their negligence or intentional actions resulted in property damage, you may be able to make a claim for liability against their policy. This might involve a tree falling from their property and causing damage to yours, or if their negligence caused a fire that spread to your place of residence.

What happens if my neighbour won't pay for the damage?

When your neighbour refuses to pay for the damage they brought about to your property, it can be an extremely frustrating and challenging experience. Maintaining a respectful and open dialogue with your neighbour is critical in addressing this issue. Express your concerns clearly and provide evidence of their liability. If speaking directly is ineffective, seeking mediation through an impartial third party can help promote a productive discussion.

If all attempts at resolution fail, you may need to consult a lawyer who specializes in property disputes to understand your legal entitlements and explore the possibility of taking legal action. Furthermore, reviewing your own insurance contract and contacting your insurance company to talk about the prospect of filing a claim may provide an additional avenue of compensation on top of covering your legal expenses.

If this is something you’re currently dealing with, reach out to a broker at BrokerLink today for assistance with your claims process. Our team of brokers would be more than happy to answer any questions or concerns you may have.

What should I do if my neighbour’s construction project damages my property?

When your neighbour's construction project causes damage to your property, one critical step is to review your local regulations and bylaws. These regulations can differ between municipalities within your province and across Canada, so it's vital that you know how they apply to your situation. Here are some essential factors to consider:

Examine local building regulations and permits

Learn about construction codes and permit rules for your area. Check to see if your neighbour's construction project complies with these guidelines. If their project is not in legal compliance, it improves your case when dealing with the resulting damage.

Examine your property lines

Verify your property's exact perimeters. Knowing the legal boundaries can help you find who is responsible for the damage and guide your future conversations with your neighbour and insurance company.

Consult with your municipal planning office

To discuss the situation, contact your local municipal planning office. Give them specifics about the damage and ask about any possible violations. They can advise you on how to proceed.

File an insurance claim

Remember to always file an insurance claim regardless of the extent of the damage. Even if you do not seek to follow through with your claim, there will be information in regards to your claim on your insurance file. Having a record of information regarding the situation will be helpful if there is ever any further damage in the future as a result of your neighbour's actions.

Can I use my home insurance to sue my neighbour for criminal damage?

While home insurance generally covers accidental damage and specific kinds of liability, it fails to cover criminal acts carried out by your neighbour. Criminal damage caused by your neighbour is usually the responsibility of the authorities in your area and the criminal justice system. It is critical to report any illegal activity to the proper authorities, including damage caused by your neighbour.

To fully comprehend the specific coverage provisions, it is recommended that you review your insurance policy and consult with your insurance provider. Some policies may provide limited coverage for deliberate acts, but this coverage is frequently subject to conditions and exceptions. It is critical in cases of criminal damage to collaborate with the authorities and provide them with any proof or details that may aid in their investigation. They will decide on the best course of action and try to hold the responsible party accountable. Once the incident has been reported, gather any details that you can from the authorities, such as contact information or case file numbers to provide to the insurance company.

Keep in mind that the main objective of home insurance is to protect against unanticipated risks, incidents, and certain types of liability. In the case of criminal activity, it is best to seek resolution through legal channels and law enforcement rather than relying solely on your home insurance policy for coverage in this situation.

If I decide to file a lawsuit, will my insurance cover my legal expenses?

The specific conditions and coverage of the insurance plan you have will determine whether it covers legal expenses related to a lawsuit against your neighbour. Because homeowners' insurance policies differ, it's critical to read the policy paperwork or contact the insurance company to understand the scope of your coverage.

Some home insurance policies come with provisions for legal expenses or liability coverage, which may help with legal costs incurred as a result of a lawsuit. It's also essential to note that not all policies provide this coverage, and there may be limitations and conditions that are associated with the amount of monetary support you receive.

Why choose BrokerLink

We understand that unexpected damage caused by neighbours can disturb your peace and quiet. That is why our dedicated team at BrokerLink is here to help you simplify your insurance decision-making process. We compare policies through our vast connections with insurance providers to ensure you receive high-quality protection tailored to your particular circumstance at an affordable price. We're also here to be your dependable partner when it comes to filing any future claims.

Our goal is to give you the peace of mind you deserve, so you can focus on what really matters in life and protect your most valuable assets. We have you covered, whether it's for renovation insurance, third-party liability insurance, or any other part of your life. Don't be intimidated by the complicated world of insurance; we're here to walk you through every step of the way and provide any assistance you need. Contact us today to enjoy the peace of mind that comes from having a reliable insurance partner on your side.

Contact us

BrokerLink believes in customizing insurance solutions to meet your specific needs. We recognize that life can be hectic, so we provide a variety of ways for you to contact us. We are here to serve you, whether you prefer a quick phone call, a convenient email exchange, or an in-person conversation at any of our multiple locations across Canada. We value your time, which is why we created an easy-to-use online quote tool. You can generate free and competitive insurance estimates in minutes with just a few clicks, allowing you to make decisions that are well-informed at any time of day.

Your convenience is our top priority, so contact BrokerLink, today!

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Is damage caused by neighbour covered FAQs

What is the property damage law in Ontario?

Property damage law in Ontario is governed by a number of statutes and regulations. Individuals are required by law to act responsibly and to avoid causing damage to another person's personal property. If someone else's actions cause damage to your property, you have the right to seek restitution. It is critical to photograph the damage, collect evidence, and alert the liable party. If a solution is not achieved through negotiations, legal action may be required. Consultation with a property damage lawyer or your insurance company can offer tailored advice to your particular circumstances and assist in safeguarding your rights under Ontario's property damage laws.

Can I sue my neighbour for water runoff?

Depending on the situation as well as the laws in your jurisdiction, you may have grounds to sue your neighbour in Canada for water runoff issues. Water runoff that damages your property can be grounds for legal action. Water can cause serious damage to your home in the event that it floods your basement or causes a sewer backup into your home. It is critical to gather evidence to back up your claim, such as documentation, photographs, or expert opinions. Legal action, on the other hand, should be used only as a last resort.

To find an amicable solution, it is generally recommended that you first engage in direct dialogue with your neighbour. In the event that discussions are not successful, we recommend reaching out and consulting with a property dispute lawyer, who can provide personalized advice based on the specific laws and regulations in your province or territory.

If my neighbour isn’t home and their water is running, can I enter it to shut it off?

Entering another person's home without their consent to turn off their water is usually not permitted unless there is an emergency requiring immediate intervention to prevent severe property damage or bodily injury. It is critical to uphold others' privacy and ownership rights in situations that are not emergencies. If you suspect a water-related problem, notify the homeowner or appropriate authorities, such as the manager of the property or utility company, and enable them to address the situation.

Is my landlord responsible for repairing damage caused by my neighbour?

As someone who rents a home, it is essential to note that your landlord is generally responsible for maintaining the overall condition of the property, including damage repairs. However, the responsibility for damage caused by your neighbour may vary according to the particulars of the case and local laws. It is critical that you promptly report the damage to your landlord and provide all necessary proof. Your landlord must evaluate the situation and determine the best course of action, which could include repairs or suing the neighbour for compensation.

How can I prevent disputes with my neighbours in the future?

Building good connections with your neighbours is essential for avoiding conflicts. Be approachable and communicate openly. Respect their personal space, property, and privacy. Address any concerns as soon as possible and calmly while seeking solutions that are mutually beneficial. In the event that things go wrong, ensure that you take the proper channels to settle the conflict as peacefully as possible.