Homeowners insurance policies come with what is known and personal liability coverage. This includes property damage and bodily injury that you or a member of your household may be responsible for. In this article, we discuss examples of what Massachusetts homeowners insurance personal liability coverage does and does not cover.
Examples of Covered Incidents
Personal liability coverage goes beyond someone getting injured on your property. It covers your family members directly and follows them wherever they go. For instance, if your kids are at a friend’s house and throw a ball through a neighbor’s window and destroy their expensive big screen tv, that neighbor may sue you for damages to both the window and electronics. This insurance would cover your legal defense and/or the cost of the damages.
Personal liability insurance also covers bodily injury. Similar to the example above, if you or your kids were playing ball on the streets and accidentally injured someone, that person may attempt to sue you for medical expenses related to their bodily injury. Again, your homeowner’s insurance policy would provide for your defense and cover the cost of damages.
Limitations of Personal Liability Insurance
There is a dollar amount limit to the personal liability coverage included in your homeowners insurance policy. For instance, your limit may be $100,000 or $500,000. If the cost of your defense and/or resulting damages exceed this amount, you are personally responsible for the difference. For example, if you have $100,000 in coverage and damages are $120,000, insurance covers $100,000 and you must pay the remaining $20,000 from your own pocket. Many people purchase a personal umbrella insurance policy for additional coverage. Umbrella insurance kicks in when either your homeowners or auto insurance policy limits are exceeded.
Important Exceptions to Personal Liability Coverage
Insurance is meant to cover accidents. Thus, it should be no surprise that intentional acts are not covered by policies. If you or a family member intentionally damages someone’s property or causes someone bodily injury, your insurance company will deny the claim altogether.
One notable example of this involved some youngsters at a party. Two kids got into a fist fight. Kid #2 suffered serious injuries and sued the parents of kid #1. The parents sought assistance from their homeowners insurance personal liability coverage. However, witness statements made it clear that the fight was not spontaneous and that kid #1 intentionally sought to harm kid #2. The homeowners insurance company denied the claim, leaving the parents responsible for their own legal defense and cost of any damages awarded by the courts.
Summary of Massachusetts Homeowners Insurance Personal Liability Coverage
Homeowners insurance personal liability coverage can provide important assistance in the case of accidents. The operative word here is “accidents.” It will not cover instances where you or a family member intentionally or maliciously destroy someone’s property or cause them injury. There are also other exclusions that you should be aware of. Contact your insurance company for a copy of your policy and specific language regarding exclusions. Also, remember that filing too many claims against your insurance can result in higher premiums in the future or even denial of coverage.