Does Car Insurance Cover Accidental Damage by a Neighbours Builder?

Caeva O'Callaghan | May 3rd, 2024

My Neighbour’s Builder Damaged My Car When Taking a Delivery of Building Materials. Does My Car Insurance Cover This?

The last thing you want is a builder working on your neighbour’s house scratching or denting your car with their building materials. But how do you claim for it?

Damage to your vehicle will fall under the builder’s public liability insurance. You need to hope that your neighbour’s builder is reputable enough to have it. If the builder does not have public liability insurance, you can work it out privately.

It’s always best to hire a tradesman with a good reputation, so you know they’ll do the job well. But if you’re not the one doing the hiring, you won’t have control over what insurance they have.

In this article, we’ll answer questions like:

  • What happens when a neighbour’s builder damages my property?
  • Does my neighbour have to pay for damage to my car caused by their builder?
  • How do I get a builder to pay for damage to my car?

Mistakes are part of everyday life. But that doesn’t mean you have to be out of pocket when a tradesman working for someone else damages your property.

What is tradesmen’s insurance?

Builders, contractors and tradesmen all need to have specialist insurance for their business. This will allow them to work in others’ homes safely, and will cover the costs of repairs if unintentional damage is done. This applies not only to their clients’ property, but anything else they happen to damage as well.

Accidents like these are the number one reason you should always employ fully qualified and insured tradesmen to work on your property. If you don’t, you may find yourself worse off than before.

Any builder, plumber, plasterer or painter worth their salt will have purchased insurance before they started taking on work. Tradesmen need three main types of liabilities when taking out insurance:

  • Public Liability
  • Products Liability
  • Employers Liability

The importance of having the right cover is vital for all tradesmen as work can be very high risk. They need to be able to protect themselves, their employees, their customers and their property, equipment and materials.

If you’re dealing with damage to your car while builders were working on a neighbouring property, then public liability is the one they need to claim on.

Your neighbour is not responsible

Should your neighbour check each and every tradesman that enters their home is fully insured? Absolutely. But if they didn’t, the damage to your car still isn’t their fault.

Many people hire a cheaper local tradesman, or give a cash-in-hand job to someone who enjoys the work. Others just ask their cousin to come round on a Sunday to do an odd job or two. None of these people are likely to have public liability insurance.

But, even if they don’t, you shouldn’t need to involve your neighbour at all. Just because they are the client and the builder is working on their property does not make your neighbour liable. Unless, of course, the damage was intentional – and then you have criminal charges on your hands!

When dealing with damage to your vehicle, it’s best to keep a cool head. No matter if you come up against resistance, all you need to remember is to discuss things calmly. Your neighbour does not need to be involved as your dispute is with their builder.

That being said, the old saying is true: “good fences make good neighbours”. If your neighbour tells you building work is about to start, or if you notice builders moving in, you should probably move your car. Even if it’s a slight inconvenience walking a few feet more on a rainy morning, it can save a massive insurance headache down the road.

Check your house as well

If your neighbour’s builder damages your car, it might be worth checking your house as well. Particularly if you’re living in a semi-detached or terrace property, neighbouring building activity can pose a risk to your home. If your vehicle suffers damage, it may be a sign the builders are clumsy or negligent.

Any competent builder will engage a surveyor to do a pre-construction survey of the adjoining houses before construction starts. This makes sure any prior damage – such as cracks in the wall – can’t be claimed as a result of the building works.

If the building works are repairs following an insurance claim made by your neighbour – for damage as a result of subsidence, for example – it would be normal for the original insurance policy to pay for damage to neighbouring properties. Even in this case, damage to your vehicle during the course of the works will be paid by the builder’s public liability insurance. If an insurance company sends out a builder they recommend, you can rest easy they’ll have the necessary protection in place.

As a last resort, you can take legal action against the builders responsible. But this really is not worth it unless the damage is truly substantial.

Has a neighbour’s builder damaged your car?

If you need advice on claiming on your car insurance or if you have any queries about an upcoming renewal, feel free to call us and we can help you out. We are available to talk anytime Mon-Fri between 8.30am and 5.30pm on 0818 224433 or 042 9359051.

If you need an instant car insurance quote, you can use our insurance calculator which compares insurance from 13 leading car insurance providers in Ireland.

All Information in this post is accurate as of the date of publishing.