The Importance of Liability Insurance for Homeowners

If you own a home, then you almost certainly have (and certainly should have) homeowner’s insurance.

Most people associate homeowner’s insurance with providing security and peace of mind in the event of a catastrophe or natural disaster. As we have seen recently with the tornados in Rowlett and the earthquakes in Irving, nature can strike unexpectedly and cause serious damage to your home and your belongs inside your home. While this is an important aspect of homeowner’s insurance, there is an equally important, and lesser known, aspect of most homeowner’s policies: home liability insurance.

Home liability insurance comes standard on most home insurance policies; and for a relatively nominal fee can be increased to a level that fits your particular standards or needs. So what is home liability insurance?

Essentially, home liability insurance protects and covers you in the event that someone is injured on (or in many cases, off your property … more about that later) your property due to your negligence or wrongdoing. For example, you are having your annual labor day party and someone trips on that broken porch step that you have been putting off fixing. Your guest’s damages for his injuries, including his medical treatment, are paid by your insurance policy – and not directly out of your pocket.

In this way, liability insurance serves the exact same function as the traditional homeowner’s insurance – giving you security and comfort in the event someone suffers an injury at your home. Unfortunately, like natural disasters, accidents can and will happen unexpectedly regardless of how diligent you are as a homeowner in keeping your property safe.

While the specifics of each policy can differ as to what is and isn’t covered, in today’s world of swimming pools, trampolines, multi-story houses, and family pets, accidents can and will happen. If you are injured on someone else’s property it is important to know that such a policy might exist to redress your injuries. You should contact an experienced personal injury attorney as soon as possible to determine whether your injury is covered by a homeowner’s liability insurance policy.

The most surprising aspect of homeowner’s liability insurance that is unknown to most people? The accident or injury does NOT necessarily have to have occurred on your property to potentially be covered by your policy. Your dog gets out of your backyard and attacks the neighbor’s kid on the neighbor’s property? You are on the fairway of the local golf course and hit the errant ball that strikes the unsuspecting passerby? You are on your daily run and inadvertently collide with the elderly neighbor from 2 streets over causing their broken ankle?

All of these examples are types of accidents that could very well be covered by your homeowner’s liability insurance policy. My advice to homeowners is to discuss with your agent the details of your coverage so that you are well versed in the details of your policy.

And my advice to someone who is injured in an accident where it is unclear as to whether there is a policy in effect that may provide an avenue to compensate you for your injuries? Contact an experienced attorney who can advise you of your options.