Homeowner‘s Insurance

Accidents in the home are far too common.  Often, accidents occur causing injuries to guests in the home.  The homeowner can be held liable and responsible for the injuries and all damages resulting from those injuries under many circumstances.  it is important for both the homeowner and the guest that the homeowner carry homeowner‘s insurance coverage for such accidents.

Homeowner’s insurance is generally required as part of a mortgage or other financing.  Even when the coverage is not required by a lender, a homeowner would do well to carry the coverage.  To do otherwise unnecessarily places the homeowner‘s assets, including the home itself, at risk of judgment.

Many, especially in today‘s financial climate, rent their homes.  Comparable coverage and protection can be purchased through renter‘s insurance.  Renter‘s insurance, condominium and townhome coverage will typically have some limitations on the scope of the coverage.  For instance, accidents occurring outside the boundaries of the insured property in common areas would typically be excluded unless arising out of the use of the insured premises.

A basic homeowner’s policy includes liability coverage to protect against accidental injury or damage caused by the insured and/or family members to guests or visitors.  It also covers injuries caused by one guest to another.  The coverage also extends to injuries caused by pets. The coverage for pets is exceptional since the coverage will extend beyond the boundaries of the property where the pet causes injuries while lose or even out and about with the owner.  This is so since the injuries caused by a pet arises out of the use of the property even when not strictly on the property.

Liability limits typically begin at $100,000.  Homeowners can choose higher policy limits. Guest no-fault medical coverage may also be included.  No-fault medical coverage will pay for medical expenses incurred by a visitor to your home, regardless of whether you were at fault or not.  Most medical coverage limits are are pretty low between $1,000 and $5,000 per incident which is generally insufficient with even moderate injuries.  As with most insurance coverage, the amount must be determined based upon your budget and your level of assets at risk in an accident since you may be held liable for damages above and beyond your liability coverage limits.

Perhaps most important for the protection of a homeowner or renter, most of these policies include a duty to defend clause.  The duty to defend means that the insurance company must bear the attorney fees and costs associated with defending you above and beyond the payment of court award.   Though the insurance company is responsible for damages only up policy limits, the insurance company may be responsible for an excess verdict above the policy limits when the insurance refused to accept an offer of settlement within those policy limits.

Without the proper insurance, the financial responsibility for injuries or damages to others shifts to the individual homeowner or renter.  If sued, a person may have to liquidate their assets to cover the costs of the damages involved.  They may even have wages garnished until a judgment is paid in full.  In addition, the injured person who may be a friend or family member may suffer even greater harm when they are unable to get the medical care needed for their injuries.