Owning a home is considered to be the hallmark of independence by many. However, the ownership of a home comes with many other responsibilities. Since I purchased my first rental property I am paying more attention to the risk that comes along with it. As a homeowner, you’re responsible for paying for repair of damage or wear and tear on your property. You’ll also be held liable for any injuries that occur on your property.
While you may like to believe your home is the safest place on earth, accidents do happen. According to the Insurance Information Institute (III), more than 20 million Americans suffered an unintentional injury requiring medical assistance while in a home in 2014. That is one in every 16 Americans. These accidents are unexpected and can occur just about anywhere in the home.
You need to ensure that your homeowner’s insurance provides you with adequate liability cover to help you meet the financial burden when these accidents do occur. The III gives the average for homeowners’ liability coverage to be between $300,000 and $500,000. You can use a comparison website to obtain a free homeowners insurance quote to determine the best policy for you.
If you’re still not sure that you really need liability insurance, check out the following common liability claims that homeowners face:
- Falling trees
Trees are beautiful. They contribute a great deal to the curb appeal of your home and provide shade from the harsh sun rays. They also act as windbreakers, protecting your home. However, they are a common hazard especially during storms.
Large mature trees are especially dangerous. They can fall on your property or on the property of your neighbor and cause serious damage. What happens when a person walks by your property and gets knocked on the head with a falling tree branch? You’re held liable.
Most homeowner liability insurance policies will cover damage caused by falling trees. This only applies for unforeseen circumstances or as a result of the weather. You won’t be covered if the act was intentional or avoidable e.g. when cutting down a tree.
- Dog bites
Do you own a dog? What happens if a person is bitten by your dog? You have to pay for their medical fees. These can amount to tens of thousands of dollars depending on the severity of the bite.
Homeowners insurance can help you cover the costs. However, this depends on the breed of the dog. Some dogs are considered dangerous or high risk by insurance companies (e.g. Rottweilers and pit bulls). Make sure your insurance policy can cover bites by the breed of dog you have. You may have to consider additional coverage if not.
- Intoxicated guests
Do you like to have a good party once in a while? What happens when an intoxicated guest damages your property or that of your neighbor? You’ll be held liable for the damage. The good news is that your home insurance policy will provide you with cover if the guest was intoxicated at the time they caused the damage.
- Injuries from accidents in the home
Accidents in the home can result in serious injuries that require medical attention. A salesman may slip on ice from your un-shoveled doorstep and file a claim of negligence. Mishaps such as these are common. It is important to have liability coverage to ensure that you are covered in the event of an accident.
Liabilities can dampen the excitement of owning a home, but with the right liability insurance coverage, you can have peace of mind and actually enjoy your home. Be sure to explore your options and find a policy that meets your needs.