Your homeowners insurance policy does more than protect your house and its contents. It also protects you from lawsuits. Homeowners insurance policies typically include personal liability coverage. Here’s what you need to know about this important coverage type.
What Is Liability Insurance?
Personal liability insurance protects you from certain claims made by third parties. For example, if a guest is injured in your home, your personal liability insurance can cover the medical costs, as well as lost wages and other related costs.
Why Is Liability Insurance Important?
Most people don’t have thousands of dollars set aside in case they’re sued. If you were hit by a lawsuit, you might have to deplete your savings. You could even go bankrupt or lose your home. Personal liability coverage provides protection.
A liability claim could happen to anyone, anytime. A guest could get injured in your home. Someone could slip and fall on your stairs or your sidewalk. Your dog could bite someone. Your child could accidentally hurt a friend.
Personal liability insurance can also provide coverage for property damage. If you, a member of your household or one of your pets damages another person’s property, the claim may be covered under your homeowners policy.
What Doesn’t Personal Liability Insurance Cover?
The liability insurance provided by your homeowners policy provides personal coverage, not professional coverage. If you run a business out of your house, you may need separate policies to cover your business risks.
Also, personal liability insurance covers claims made by third parties, such as guests in your house. If your guest is injured on your property, for example, your homeowners liability insurance can provide coverage. If you are injured on your property, however, your homeowners liability insurance will not provide coverage.
Your policy may have other exclusions as well. For example, criminal or intentional acts are typically excluded. Coverage may also be restricted for certain types of animals or breeds of dogs. There may also be restrictions or requirements regarding swimming pools and other “attractive nuisances.” Read your policy carefully and talk to your insurance agent about any questions you have.
How Much Liability Insurance Do You Need?
Homeowners insurance policies often provide around $100,000 in personal liability coverage. Some may provide more.
Lawsuits can get expensive. If you need more coverage to make sure your assets are fully protected, talk to your independent insurance agent about getting higher limits or purchasing an umbrella insurance policy for additional coverage.