It’s true that owning a home comes with a wide range of advantages, but also liabilities, including the fact that you’re going to be personally responsible for any accident that occurs on your property. The majority of homeowners insurance policies include personal liability insurance which offers coverage against financial loss if someone is injured in your home. However, it is recommended that you carefully check your policy’s limits in order to ensure that you benefit from the right amount of coverage should such scenarios ever materialize.
Personal Liability Coverage
There are 4 components that the majority of homeowners insurance policies provide, including, personal liability protection, temporary living expenses, personal property and structure. The last 3 components will cover you in the event you suffer a loss due to covered events such as tornadoes or a fire. When it comes to the personal liability component, it effectively protects you against financial losses in the event you are sued because you have caused property damage or personal injury to other people. In general, it’s going to pay for the damages awarded by the court and the costs of defending you in court. As for the personal liability component of your homeowners policy, it provides coverage for medical bills (minor though) when someone is injured in your home.
Unlike minimum vehicle insurance limits, which is very well known that they’re mandated by law in the majority of states, a typical homeowners insurance policy features no legally required minimums. However, it may be that a specific type of coverage may be required by your mortgage company, so you need to check that first. Minimum personal liability limits generally start at about one hundred thousand dollars based on info from the Insurance Information Institute, yet the institute advocates at starting point of at least three hundred thousand dollars.
Factors to Consider
There are quite a few factors that influence how much personal liability you need to get with your homeowners insurance policy, including the value of other property you may own, that of your investments and your income. Also, if you have a pet (like a dog), you need to increase your liability limits. That’s because dog bites were responsible for at least 1/3 of liability claims in the past years and cost insurance companies about four hundred and twelve million dollars a year. Also, if at the parties you host alcohol is served, you should consider increasing your personal liability insurance. The same goes if you have a trampoline, hot tub, swimming pool and similar features that may increase the likelihood of personal injuries.
If you have a net worth of more than 300K, then it’s recommended that you protect your assets with an umbrella policy on top of your homeowners insurance policy. By paying between one hundred and fifty and three hundred dollars a year, you can get an umbrella policy with 1 one million dollars worth of coverage. Just keep in mind that these policies usually kick in only when your homeowners insurance policy’s liability is exhausted, so that’s why you’ll have to buy both. Make sure you also get 250 thousand dollars in car liability insurance prior to making up your mind whether you require extra coverage from one such policy or not.
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