In this article, we’ll focus on just the last-mentioned “additional” coverage included in homeowners insurance: liability protection.
What Does Homeowners Insurance Liability Protection Cover?
While liability cover is not legally required on a homeowners policy, it will almost always be included in one. And this is one of the most important aspects of your policy, so you shouldn’t remain in the dark about exactly what it does and does not cover.
Basically, the liability portion of your homeowners policy will cover you for injury or property damage to someone other than your home’s regular residents.
It’s there in case an accident happens on your property, be it inside or outside the house, that leads to expensive medical care or property repair/replacement to a friend, neighbor, or other visitor to your home.
You and your family, however, are not covered by your homeowners liability. You would have to use your health insurance, comprehensive auto insurance, or other relevant insurance to cover it instead.
But, for non-residents, bodily injury, medical payments, property damage, and related lawsuits and judgments are all covered – even if you are found to have (unintentionally) caused the accident in some way.
The most common bases for a bodily injury claim are for slip and fall accidents and dog bite incidents, while “neighborhood damage” like by a baseball or by shrapnel thrown by a lawnmower is the most common type of property damage claim filed.
Liability Limits & Exclusions
Besides understanding who is or is not covered, and whose property is or isn’t, also realize that there are other limitations to the liability cover on most homeowners insurance policies.
First of all, all medical bills and property repair bills have to be “reasonable” as to price. But that’s not necessarily normally going to be a problem.
But what could be a problem is if your policy’s limit (cap) for personal injury liability is set lower than the actual cost of medical care in the wake of an accident. Most policies have $100,000 as standard for personal liability cover. You can always raise your limit – many suggest as high as $300,000 is a much safer amount of coverage.
Next, there may be exclusions for specific types of accidents or for particular types of persons. And each insurer and policy will differ on what those exclusions are. So, for example, it’s pretty standard to exclude a babysitter – especially a live-in sitter. He/she would have to be covered, in that case, by a workers comp or other type of insurance policy.
A few final notes: you can cover yourself and your family with a separate, supplementary personal liability policy (and the babysitter too, if you wish), and you can get different but similar liability coverage as part of renter’s insurance or condo insurance if you lease an apartment or condo.
To learn more about homeowners insurance and liability coverage, or for a free quote, contact Flagler County (FL) Insurance Agency today!