Don’t let the name fool you: home insurance covers much more than just your property. Your policy includes liability coverage and you might be surprised to find out just how far your coverage goes.
WHAT IS PERSONAL LIABILITY COVERAGE?
Personal liability coverage is a typical component of a home insurance policy. While no one expects to be held liable after an accident at their home, liability coverage may help prevent you from paying out of pocket should the unexpected occur.
Think about, for example, what would happen if someone were to take an unfortunate spill down your stairs or anywhere on your property. Ultimately, you could be held responsible for their medical expenses and pain and suffering damages if you are found legally liable for the accident. In either event, liability coverage may help pay for the cost of a settlement against you. Just as important in these situations, your insurance company will also provide a legal defence on your behalf saving you time and significant legal expenses.
YOU ARE PROTECTED WHILE AWAY FROM YOUR HOME AS WELL
Whether you’re out for some exercise or to socialize with your friends (or both) there are numerous situations that can arise where you could be held responsible for expenses if it’s determined that someone was injured or property was damaged as a result of your negligence.
For example, if you are riding your bicycle and crash into someone at the park or if you accidentally cause damage to a hotel you are staying at your personal liability coverage may help protect you if you that person seeks damages or the hotel seeks reimbursement.
YOU ARE EVEN PROTECTED WHILE TRAVELING OUTSIDE OF CANADA
Accidents happen, at home and abroad. Maybe your kids got a little too excited playing a sport on the beach in Mexico and accidentally injured someone, or maybe you left a candle lit while you were out and it resulted in fire damage to the condo you were renting in Europe. If you’re held legally responsible for any injuries or damages that take place beyond your own property, your home insurance may provide coverage. And as an added bonus, deductibles don’t apply to liability claims.
WHAT HOME LIABILTY DOESN’T COVER
As with all insurance policies there are always certain coverage exclusions. Purposefully inflicted injuries or damage is not covered nor will your home insurance policy provide liability coverage for operating a motor vehicle or for incidents related to your business/employment activities. For further details on what is and is not covered by your home liability insurance please contact your CMR Broker.
HOW TO PROTECT YOURSELF
While it is hard to think of every possible thing that could go wrong, do your best to look for avoidable risks around your home. Is your stairway missing a railing? Do you have a dog that nips a little too enthusiastically at guests? Take an inventory of potential hazards and take steps to prevent injuries to people who visit your property. It is important to remember that you are responsible for not only the maintenance of your property, but also the actions of your family, your pets, and yourself.
REVIEW YOUR LIABILITY COVERAGE LIMIT
Historically, it has been common for many people to carry a personal liability limit of $1,000,000 with their home insurance policy. While this may seem sufficient, you must consider that it is far more common for courts today to award damages that far exceed $1,000,000. This is important to note because If you’re ever held legally responsible in an injury or property damage lawsuit, you are personally responsible to pay any amounts awarded over the liability limit in your insurance policy.
Fortunately, the cost to increase your liability limit is not as significant as what you might think. While the cost varies from company to company it is often possible to increase your liability limit from $1,000,000 to $2,000,000 for a cost of between $25.00 and $50.00 per year. Depending on your personal finances and risk tolerance higher liability limits are also available.
For an exact quote on the cost to increase your liability insurance limit, or for further questions or concerns about your policy, please contact CMR Insurance and we will be happy to assist you.