Home Owners Insurance and Injury Coverage

To protect against potential liability for injuries and to safeguard people and belongings, it's usually a good idea for homeowners to purchase homeowners insurance. And if a house is financed by a mortgage, the lender will often require homeowners insurance. But any insured home owner should carefully examine his or her policy to ascertain the exact coverages and policy limits.

Inside a Typical Homeowners' Insurance Policy

Standard homeowners insurance will cover structure damage to a house due to natural disasters, but coverage for earthquakes and flood may require purchasing additional coverage.

Damage to personal property will be covered, and it is advisable for home owners to itemize personal belongings so that future damage can be calculated with accuracy.

Living expenses may be covered when a home becomes uninhabitable due to property damage.

Finally, homeowners insurance will often provide protection for injuries to third parties that occur on the home owner's property, such as  slip and fall accidents. The insurance should also typically cover injuries caused by the home owner's pets.

Coverage for Homeowner Negligence

 Homeowners insurance covers negligent actions of the homeowner. But what kind of conduct will rise to the level of negligence? A homeowner, like any other person, has a duty to exercise reasonable care. Negligence occurs when a homeowner breaches this duty and his actions cause injury to a third party, such as a house guest. Such a breach may occur when a homeowner's dog injures a guest, for example. It must also be shown that the homeowner's negligence caused the injury. For example, where a guest slips on a wet substance, it must be proved that the homeowner was responsible for the spill or failed to clean up the substance within a reasonable time. Finally, the guest must also show that he or she was actually injured, in order to hold the homeowner liable for negligence.

Most insurance policies will not protect the home owner from intentional actions that caused injuries. For example, a home owner that intentionally pushes a guest to the ground will not be covered by his or her insurance company for the guest's resulting back injury.

Steps for Recovering from a Home Owner's Insurance Company

There are general pre-lawsuit steps to take when seeking to recover from a home owner's insurance policy:

  • Find the name and telephone number of the homeowners insurance company;
  • File a claim with the insurance company;
  • Speak with the claim adjuster;
  • Give a recorded statement, if necessary; and
  • Gather all medical bills, receipts for costs, and calculate any lost wages.

Once an injured party calculates all or a majority of medical bills, costs and lost wages, he or she should proceed to  settlement negotiations. In making or responding to settlement offers, an injured person should consider compensation for pain and suffering and mental anguish. A person can recover money for emotional harm caused by the injury including grief, depression, and anxiety. If you hire an attorney, fees and costs paid to the attorney should also be included in the settlement. Settlement of a claim will be negotiated with the claims adjuster. If a satisfactory settlement cannot be reached, the next step is to file a lawsuit in court.

Watch the Homeowners Policy Limits

The standard policy limits for liability protection is $100,000. However, increasing the limit to $200,000 will ensure that most major injuries will be covered by insurance.

Overall, homeowners insurance helps injured house guests. Often, the homeowner cannot pay for extensive medical bills and attorney's fees. Homeowners insurance provides compensation for the injured party without bankrupting the homeowner.

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