Liability Insurance: What Your Home Insurance Policy Covers

7 May 2018
by SeaFirst Insurance

We’re used to thinking about our home and contents when it comes to home insurance, but did you know your policy covers liability as well?

Providing up to $2 million coverage (or $5 million on some home policies) in the event you are held legally liable for damage or injury, personal liability comes standard with most property insurance policies. While individuals may hope they never have to use this coverage, it’s important to understand the protections and limitations that come with it.

Bodily Injury Claims

Slip and fall

Being a homeowner (or renter) entails that a reasonable effort must be made to keep your personal property free from hazards. If a guest visiting your home (whether a friend, repair technician or courier) slips, trips or falls, you may be held liable for any injuries.

Fortunately, bodily injury claims fall under the jurisdiction of homeowner’s liability insurance. Working in conjunction with medical payments, this coverage will pay for necessary medical and surgical expenses associated with a guest’s negligence claim.

It’s important to note that this coverage doesn’t extend to injured individuals already covered under your home policy. In the event of a resident’s injury at home, their medical insurance would need to cover any expenses. 

What are the most common causes of bodily injury claims? Given our cold Canadian winters, it’s no surprise that slippery surfaces are a frequent source for injuries. To prevent any accidents, keep your walk shoveled and salted during colder months, and be sure to check local by-laws to see if you are responsible for maintaining any sidewalks bordering your property as well. Other common hazards to be aware of include dog bites, loose or missing handrails on stairs, unexpected elevation changes and gaps within the property line, and inadequately lit walking areas.

Property Damage

In addition to injury claims, Personal Liability Insurance also covers accidental damage to another individual’s property anywhere in the world.  This means that if you unintentionally knock over a friend’s priceless Ming vase, or a tree from your property falls onto a neighbouring house, your liability insurance will step into cover reparations.

In some cases, homeowner policies will also offer coverage for defamation of character, covering legal costs in the event the insured is accused of libel or slander.

A major exclusion when it comes to property damage is motor vehicles. Because vehicles do not fall under home insurance policies, third party property damage caused by your motor vehicle is omitted from this coverage.

In addition, your home liability insurance does not extend to business-related claims. If you are a private contractor or work out of your home, we recommend purchasing Professional Liability Insurance tailored to your industry. This can include Errors and Omissions (coverage for mistakes that result to financial loss to clients), General Liability (protecting clients for injury claims) and Cyber Privacy Liability (including data breach notifications).

Not sure what your liability limit is? While many home policies come standard with $1 million, there are additional limits available. For answers to more insurance questions, contact one of our friendly SeaFirst Insurance brokers today!

Testimonial

SeaFirst and Garrett have been wonderful to deal with, quick to respond to our needs and questions. Even better is that they saved us a ton of money on our insurance with their adventure tourism specific policy. 

- Breanne and Rick, Spirit of the West Adventures Ltd.