Landlords are responsible for keeping the properties safe and habitable. In fact, they can be held liable when a tenant or a visitor gets injured due to the landlord's negligence. The first step that someone has to take when injured is to try to file a claim on the landlord's insurance policy. But unless that information is provided in the lease, the tenant or visitor may not know how to find the information. Here are 4 ways that you can locate the insurance company information when you need to file a claim against a landlord.
Ask the Landlord
You can ask the landlord for the name of the insurance company and the policy number. You shouldn't have to tell him or her why you need the information at this point, but he or she will probably ask you why you need the information. Of course, if the reason for the injury was due to their negligence, they may not be cooperative in providing you with the information that you will need in order to move forward with filing a claim against their insurance policy. If the landlord does not cooperate, do not threaten at that time that you will file a lawsuit. You don't want to put the landlord on the defensive in the first stages of the personal injury claim process.
Look at Courthouse Records
If your landlord has a mortgage on the house, and it's likely that he or she does, you may be able to find the name of the insurance company on the mortgage documents for the property. Mortgage companies require insurance coverage at the time of closing. Fortunately, mortgage documents are matters of public record, which means you can read the mortgage documents at your county courthouse or online if the land records office provides that ability. Use this interactive tool to locate your county courthouse to determine whether or not these documents can be viewed online or a trip to the courthouse will be necessary.
It's important to note that some counties require a fee in order to access records that are online. A clerk in the land records office can show you how to use the database to find the documents. Read through the documents carefully to find a clause that states the insurance requirements and it might list the insurance company's name there or at the end of the document.
Get a CLUE
If you still need help finding the name of the insurance company, get a CLUE. This is a report from the Comprehensive Loss Underwriting Exchange that lists various information including a history of the names of the insurance companies and the corresponding policy numbers that have ever been attached to the home. Call the most recently listed insurance company to see if the landlord's policy is still active.
One huge benefit of getting a CLUE report is that you will also see each claim that has ever been filed against insurance policies for that particular home. This means that you'll be able to see if any previous tenants have also had the same or similar issues with personal injuries due to the landlord's negligence.
Get a Subpoena
If you're still not having any luck, hire a personal injury attorney, like those at Spesia & Ayers Attorneys At Law, so he or she can get a subpoena. A subpoena can be issued to mandate that your landlord provide you with the information for the insurance policy through your lawyer. If he or she does not answer the subpoena, he or she can be held in contempt of court.
If you do hire a lawyer, it will be a good idea to avoid corresponding with your landlord without your lawyer's knowledge. That way, the lawyer can advise you on what and what not to say to your landlord, especially regarding the insurance claim and/or the potential personal injury lawsuit that you might file.