“I received a letter from an attorney notifying me that someone fell outside my home when I wasn’t there. The letter is asking me to turn it over to my homeowner’s insurance carrier. But why should I do that if I don’t even know if the accident really took place? Won’t my homeowner’s insurance rate go up?”
Yes, you should turn the letter over to your homeowner’s insurance carrier. The whole point of having homeowner’s insurance is to cover you for losses that arise on your property, even if you are not there. The insurance carrier has an entire claims department, eager to investigate the claim against you. The carrier also have attorneys that they are paying that will defend if the case against you goes to court. And, if you have a damages judgment entered against you, the carrier will indmenify you for your loss.
You should not worry about your insurance rate, you should worry about giving your insurance carrier timely notice of the claim against you. If you do not turn the letter over to your insurance carrier, you may lose the right to have the carrier investigate and defend the claim against you. All policies insist that the carrier receive timely notice of any potential claims against you covered by the policy. If you fail to turn over that letter from the attorney to your insurance company, and then, you receive a summons a year later, you could be facing a disclaimer. A disclaimer means, you pay for your own lawyer and investigator and you pay any judgments against you.
The risk is not worth it. It is much easier to fight a rate hike assesed against you for a bogus claim, than it is to fight the insurane carrier to defend you in a lawsuit because you failed to give it timely notice.