What Is Covered Under a Homeowner’s Liability Policy
A Personal Insurance Update
Most people never actually read their homeowner’s insurance policy. We agree insurance policies are difficult to read and understand unless you are in the insurance business. Nevertheless, we do recommend that you read your policy. If you have any questions call our office, as we are happy to help you.
The liability portion of your renters’ or homeowner’s coverage will be similar, so both renters and homeowners should pay attention.
The personal liability section of a renter’ or homeowner’s policy protects against accidents or injuries for which you may be liable that occur in, on, or around, your premises. The policy covers bodily injury, personal injury, and property damage.
Liability is defined as a legal obligation to another party. A renter or homeowner can be held legally responsible for injury or damages caused to another party at your home or apartment. You will only be held accountable (liable) for an accident, injury, or property damage if you caused the accident, or if you failed to ensure that your home was in safe condition. The policy states that it will pay on behalf of the homeowner for damages that are covered under the policy.
• Bodily Injury—covers injury to the body of a third party. This might include a guest that trips on your deck and breaks their leg.
• Personal Injury—these kinds of claims usually include damages involving libel and slander.
• Property damage—covers damage or loss to someone else’s private property. An example of a property damage claim would be if you damage your neighbor's fence when you cut your tree down.
The personal liability section also includes defense coverage in the event you are brought into litigation. The policy or insurer will defend you and pay any damage for which you are liable up to the policy limits—subject to the policy terms and conditions.
Some renters’ and homeowner’s insurance policies have what is called “premises medical coverage.” This is like a no-fault coverage to help pay for reasonable medical expenses if a guest is injured on your premises. This allows your guest’s medical bill to be paid without having to get involved in litigation.
Of course, some claims or damages are not covered under standard renters or homeowner’s insurance policies. Remember each policy is different, so we always recommend you read your policy.
Here Are Common Exclusions Found in a Renters or Homeowner’s Liability Policy
• Intentional acts
• Criminal acts
• Domestic workers—an endorsement can add this coverage
• Injury to people living in your home or apartment
• Damage caused by contractors
• Business activities including claims related to your professional activities
The Most Common Kinds of Claims That Renters or Homeowners Face
According to the Insurance Information Institute, these are the most common kinds of personal liability claims:
• Falling trees onto neighbors fences or home
• Dog bites
• Trip and fall accidents
• Guests that are intoxicated
• Injury to domestic workers