Homeowners Liability Insurance: Learn What’s Covered

A man wrapping his wrist with white guaze

Say that a friend or extended family member trips walking into your home, injuring themselves or your home in the process. While the first step will be ensuring their safety and recovery, as a homeowner you may also be wondering how much all this will cost you (and it’s a smart question to ask). That’s where homeowners liability insurance comes in.

When purchasing your homeowners insurance policy, no matter the type, you’ll likely have a section on personal liability protection. Though this coverage may seem straightforward, what this section of your policy actually covers can get complicated. Understanding the liability portion of your policy can help ensure you, your home and your family are protected during a worst-case scenario.

What does homeowners liability insurance cover?

Homeowners liability insurance protects the members of your household in the event that someone gets injured on your property. This includes anything you’re responsible for, such as someone twisting their ankle on a broken walkway (that’s why proper home maintenance is so important). If the worst happens, you can rest assured that your insurance company will help with legal fees, medical bills and even lost wages. 

While homeowners liability is only one part of a comprehensive home insurance plan, it’s an important one. Not only does liability coverage not have a deductible, but its coverage limits extend beyond individual injury or property damage as well. You’ll also be protected if you damage someone else’s property. 

Homeowners liability insurance protects the members of your household in the event that someone gets injured on your property.

It’s common to see policy limits set at $100,000 for a traditional homeowners insurance policy. However, since legal and medical fees can easily add up, you may want to increase your coverage amount to make sure you’re properly protected.

Though you may never expect to be sued for things like medical coverage, lost wages or death benefits, having to handle those things on your own can make that “what if” much more terrifying. Luckily, as liability insurance is standard in most home insurance policies, you don’t have to go at it alone. Insurance companies (like us) have seen a thing or two in their time protecting customers, so they’re well equipped to offer financial protection in unique situations.

Unique situations also covered by liability insurance

Common issues such as broken bones, trips, falls and structural damage to someone else’s home are the most likely accidents you’ll submit a liability claim for. But that’s not where your coverage ends. There’re a variety of less common accidents that can occur in your home, and your liability coverage should be fit to cover them.

  • Damage to someone else’s property or belongings
  • Dog bites (not available from all insurers)
  • Food poisoning
  • Libel
  • Slander
  • Worker injury on your property

If you toss a frisbee out of your backyard and straight into your neighbor's window, you’d be held liable to pay for repairs. Or if you’re visiting a friends home and break their equipment or appliance, you’d be expected to contribute to the replacement costs. Liability coverage comes into play here too, protecting you even when you damage someone else's property. Other less common occurrences such as libel, slander and food poisoning are covered under your liability insurance as well.

If you hire a contractor, nanny or other worker to update your home, you may also be required to pay for their medical expenses should they get injured on your property. While they will often have medical insurance through their company, if they can prove the injury was caused by your negligence, they can sue you for medical fees or lost wages. If this happens liability insurance will kick in to help you cover the costs.

What does liability insurance not cover?

Though the above list of what liability insurance covers is pretty extensive, there are still things that are limited in your liability policy. 

  • Any intentional injuries or damages to your home will not be covered (no matter who causes it). 
  • Any personal injuries that happen at home will not be covered.
  • Coverage doesn’t extend to your own vehicles, as they have their own auto insurance policies that should provide adequate coverage. 
  • If you are running a small business out of your home, any injuries that occur related to that business will not be covered.
    • Purchasing a Business Owners Policy (BOP) can help cover injuries from on-site visitors.

How much liability insurance do I need for my home?

To determine how much personal liability coverage you need, you should take into account the value of your assets. If you recently remodeled your home, have a pool, or are just looking for more financial protection, you may need more assistance when it comes to repairs and replacements.

Another factor to consider is how often you have guests over, and their average age. If you love to host family and friends or your grandparents stop by frequently, it might be a good idea to expand your coverage amounts to keep from paying too much out of pocket should an accident occur.

Umbrella liability insurance

Think of an umbrella policy like an actual umbrella when it rains. While your “raincoat” of homeowners insurance might offer some good protection from the storm, if the rain gets worse, you’ll need an umbrella to provide more protection. These extended protection policies typically offer coverage from one to five million dollars. And while it might seem intense to get that much protection for an accident that hasn’t even happened yet, you’ll be thankful you did once those legal and medical expenses start piling up.

Protecting yourself from the cost associated with accidents is not only a smart move to make — it’s often required by mortgage lenders, landlords and condo associations. With no deductibles and traditionally small annual costs, liability insurance is a no-brainer that ensures you won’t go bankrupt from one incident. Looking to extend your coverage? Let us walk you through our liability insurance options to get you the security you need.