A guest in my house fell and and was seriously injured. Will my homeowners insurance protect me from liability?
The answer, most likely, is yes. When someone is injured in your house or on your property, in most cases the liability provision of your homeowners’ insurance policy will kick in and provide you with coverage, should the injured person file a personal injury lawsuit against you.
Or, the injured person could simply file a “third party claim” with your insurance carrier, and the company will handle the claim on your behalf and pay the injured person’s medical bills and compensate them for other losses stemming from the accident, via an injury settlement agreement.
But there are a few things to keep in mind before you go thinking that your homeowners’ insurance somehow makes you bulletproof against any kind of legal action.
First of all, the extent that your policy will shield you from personal liability is dependent upon the limits of your liability coverage. For example, if you have $100,000 in coverage and someone is seriously injured in a slip and fall on your property, it’s possible that the injured person’s damages could add up to more than $100,000. In that case, you could be personally on the hook for any amount over the $100,000. That’s why it may pay to carry more liability coverage, say $250,000, which should keep any injury claim within the limits of your policy.
Second, your homeowners’ insurance policy will not provide you with liability protection for any criminal act or intentional conduct that ends up injuring someone else. But for most accidents, you can rest assured that you’re covered under your homeowners’ policy.
by: David Goguen, J.D.