Liability insurance tags along with you – inside and outside your home

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Don’t let the name fool you: home insurance can protect much more than your property. With liability coverage, for example, you might be surprised to find out just how far your coverage goes.

When you’re batting a thousand

Whether you’re out for some exercise or to socialize with your friends (or both), nothing’s more satisfying than the sound of your bat cracking a ball high into the air, past the outfield. But what if, in a perfect storm of lousy aim and excitement, you manage to hit your buddy and his $800 aviator sunglasses? Not only will you be buying the first post-game round, you’ll also be on the hook for replacing some pricey eyewear.

Well, not to worry. The liability portion of your homeowner’s policy will likely cover the damage you’ve caused, including the cost of the sunglasses and any medical expenses, too.

When you’re out of the country

Accidents happen, at home and abroad. Maybe your candlelit wedding proposal ended with fire damage to your hotel room, or the kids got a little too excited while swinging for an authentic Mexican piñata at the resort. If you’re held legally responsible for any property damages that take place beyond your own property, your home insurance can help pay for repairs or replacements. And as an added bonus, deductibles don’t apply to liability claims.

When you’re at fault, plain and simple

While it can be hard to think of every possible thing that could go wrong, do your best to look for avoidable risks around your home. Could someone fall down your rickety staircase? Might the family dog nip a little too enthusiastically at the mailman?

Take an inventory of potential hazards and take steps to prevent injuries to your guests. After all, you’re responsible for not only the maintenance of your property, but also the actions of your family, your pets, and yourself.

You should know, though, that if you or members of your household trip on those steps or get nipped by Rover, the consequences are your own: liability coverage doesn’t apply here.

An umbrella policy is a good idea

If you bundle your insurance to include two types of coverage (like home and car, for example), you have the option to extend your liability insurance with an umbrella policy.

Why is this important? Well, consider the fact that courts today tend to award damages that far exceed the $1 million liability limit on most insurance policies. If you’re ever held legally responsible in an injury or property damage lawsuit, a settlement over the limit of your existing policy is a real possibility.

An umbrella policy, which adds (over and above your existing limits) liability amounts in increments of $1 million up to $5 million to your two policies, could mean the difference between breathing easy and bankruptcy.

Get the facts from a broker

If you want to make sure you’re covered for liability at home, around the block, or on the other side of the world, talk to your insurance broker about a home insurance policy that fits your needs.

Written by Anita Tomins & Cheri Armstrong  |  Economical | Published on: July 15, 2016