When you think of home insurance, you most likely think of a safety net for hail storms, fire, hurricanes, floods, or theft. However, there is another aspect of home insurance that is often forgotten about or overlooked: liability coverage.
Nearly every home insurance policy has some built-in liability coverage. But it might not be enough if you have a high risk of facing lawsuits because of injuries or accidents that occur on or off your property. Here are some considerations to help you know if you should expand your liability coverage.
You Are Involved in Sports or Clubs
While you and other participants might sign a waiver when using a specific facility, the waiver does not protect other patrons, including yourself, from personal injury lawsuits.
To illustrate, if you frequently use a local gym for workouts and you accidentally drop a heavy weight on somebody else’s foot, causing damage that will lead to lasting disability, this person has the right to sue you for personal injury. Your homeowner’s insurance liability coverage can help with the cost of the settlement, but the lowest level of coverage might not be enough for the amount necessary.
For this reason, you need to examine your regular engagement in risky activities outside your own home (aside from driving, which has its own liability coverage). If you pose a high risk of causing injury to someone else on a regular basis, it’s better to be safe than sorry. Consult your insurance agent about adding more liability coverage to your policy.
You Have Pets or Other Animals
Pets are a wild card when it comes to injury risk. You are typically responsible for injuries your animals might cause. Most notably and common, homeowners with dogs are usually (depending on the state) at least partially responsible for injuries from dog bites or attacks, especially if they occur on your own property to invited guests.
If you plan to keep pets, especially pets that cause a fascination for children, plan to increase your coverage.
Other animals that necessitate an increase in liability coverage include horses, mules, large birds, some cattle, and even sheep. Even though these animals are often well-trained and docile, accidents happen and you need to be financially prepared.
Your Home Is Also Your Business
If you run a business out of your home, you should have business insurance, but you also should address the implications of your homeowner’s policy. If your business is simple and is not a limited liability corporation, clients who are injured on your property when coming to access your services can sue you personally, leaving home insurance to pick up the slack.
For example, if you run a haircutting business from your basement and client slips and falls on an icy walk, they can sue for injuries. Your home insurance liability coverage can often be the safety net that protects your small business from ruin.
You Have a Swimming Pool or Similar Facilities
You should also address the safety of your home. A typical suburban home with a fenced yard is a low-risk place. However, the addition of features like swimming pools drastically alters the injury risk. Swimming pools are the perfect example of increased liability risk because many things can go wrong with them:
They Can Be Attractive Nuisances
If a neighborhood child wanders into your yard and drowns in the pool, you can still be held responsible for wrongful death simply because a child cannot be expected to understand the danger of the pool.
You Can Face Liability for Poor Fencing or Incomplete Maintenance
If the pool is not properly fenced, it’s easier for children to access the pool unsupervised. Bad maintenance, like broken ladder rungs or damaged decking, can lead to injury.
Visitors Can Become Injured While Playing in the Pool
Finally, injuries occur from normal use. Visitors might hit their head or break a tooth while playing in the pool or slipping on the deck. As a pool owner, you absorb the risk of these injuries.
Having a swimming pool definitely increases your need for extensive coverage. However, they are not the only property addition that increases liability. You might also increase coverage for things like tennis courts, hobby farms with farm equipment, barns, climbing trees, tree houses, and firearm collections.
It’s also important to assess natural risks. For example, you may have several trees in your yard that could cause injury to a neighbor should the branches break off during a storm and strike them. Liability coverage will provide for the incidents that you could not have prevented.
If you are uncertain about assessing the risks associated with your lifestyle and property, contact us at Metropolitan Insurance Service Consultants. We can point you in the direction you need for proper liability coverage, no matter what the accident.