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Homeowners Liability Insurance Coverage

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UPDATED: Aug 20, 2013

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Homeowners Liability InsuranceIn addition to protection for your physical property, homeowner’s insurance also offers liability coverage that can protect your assets from litigation under certain circumstances.  Unlike auto liability insurance, which is designed to pay for very specific types of situations, homeowner’s liability coverage is designed to be very inclusive to cover a variety of potential claims.

The purpose of liability insurance is to pay for medical expenses or property damage for individuals who are outside of your family.  In other words, if you cause any damage or harm to another person or their property, your liability insurance can pay for that damage and protect you from a lawsuit.  This can include both personal injuries and damages to other people’s property on or off your premises.

Common Homeowners Liability Insurance Claims

There are a few common claim types made against personal liability policies:

–        Injury claims for people who trip and fall while visiting your property

–        Injury claims for people who are bitten by your pet on or off your property

–        Damage claims caused by your pets or young children

–        Damage claims caused by your property, such as a falling tree limb

What it Covers

Personal liability policies may not necessarily cover every type of claim which could be filed against them, but they provide a good general layer of protection between you and litigation.  Be aware that liability insurance will only cover situations that are accidental; you cannot use your homeowner’s policy to pay for damages or injuries that are caused purposefully.  You also cannot use this coverage to pay for the medical expenses of anyone living in your home.

For example, imagine that you have aging relatives come over for a holiday dinner.  While there, a relative slips on your stairwell and injures their hip.  This injury could be covered by your homeowner’s policy.  If, however, your grandmother lives with you full-time on the property, an injury to her hip would not be the best time to file a homeowners insurance claim.  This is because you cannot be held liable to yourself, and another type of insurance, such as health insurance, is expected to cover that expense.

Not every homeowner’s policy automatically includes liability insurance, so you should check with your insurer to confirm whether you carry this coverage and what its limitations may be.  If you have substantial assets to protect, consider purchasing an umbrella policy, which is a more advanced type of liability insurance that can further protect you and your family.

About Eric Stauffer

Author: Eric StaufferI am a former insurance agent and banker turned consumer advocate. My priority is to help educate individuals and families about the different types of insurance they need, and assist them in finding the best place to get it.

2 Comments

  1. I need home insurance for a home built in 1935 with no real upgrades to speak of. Hard to find, can you advise?
    Thank You

    Reply
    • Hi Bob,

      Its going to depend a lot on the actual home and where you are located.

      If I were you, I would find a 3rd party insurance broker. One that sells for a dozen companies or more (Not a captive agent that works for one insurance firm). They will have access to many companies, and can find you the best route for your specific location.

      They often use the word AGENCY in their company names.

      Best,
      Eric Stauffer

      Reply

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