What is Premise Liability?
Property owners have a responsibility to maintain a safe environment. When a property owner neglects their duty, and it results in an injury, they can be held responsible. A premises liability lawsuit makes a property owner liable for any damages caused by an injury on their property.
It typically refers to public places, but it can also affect homes and apartments. When a visitor gets injured in your home, this is where liability coverage comes in.
How can Liability Protect Me?
Premise liability coverage, typically included in your renters or homeowner’s insurance, covers accidents in your home and prevents you from paying out-of-pocket for medical expenses.
- Medical bills
- Pain and suffering
- Death benefits
- Legal costs
Additionally, personal liability could cover situations that happen away from home. If you are out for a bike ride and accidentally crash into someone resulting in injury, personal liability could help cover medical costs. The same applies to property damage. If, for example, you were to cause damage to a hotel, you’re staying in personal liability coverage may help you.
Situations covered by personal liability insurance include:
- Your dog biting a guest in your home
- A FedEx delivery worker slipping and falling in your driveway
- Your child breaking a window at their friend’s house
- Food poisoning
- Libel and slander
If a visitor is injured while in your apartment, renter’s insurance could pay for medical bills up to the policy’s limit. If your kid breaks a neighbor’s window, your policy could pay to replace it.
Do I Always Shoulder the Responsibility if Someone is Injured in My Home?
Proof of burden is on the injured party to prove there was maintenance negligence on the part of the property owner
Additionally, there must be proof that you knew or should reasonably have known that the premises were unsafe and didn’t act to remedy the situation.
These are some ways to avoid common household hazards:
- Ensuring staircase handrails are secure
- Adding secured mats or grip to surfaces
- Using non-slip stickers on floor mats and rugs
- Install fire alarms
- Monitor candles
- Fence in pool areas
What Isn’t Covered by Personal Liability?
Claims that may not be covered by standard home or renter’s insurance include:
- Injuries or property damage as a result of an auto accident
- Property damage or injuries as a result of intentional actions by you or family members to someone in your home
- Injuries or property damage sustained by your or family members in your own home
Claims exceeding policy limits will also not fall within coverage. If you find that policy limits do not meet your needs, you may want to consider something like an umbrella policy. An umbrella policy would cover costs associated with a severe accident or accident on your property that exceeds policy limits.
Is Personal Liability Coverage Required?
Most home insurance policies have personal liability coverage built-in. Apartments are different. While renters insurance is affordable, it isn’t required, since you don’t own the unit. In fact, according to the Insurance Information Institute, only 40 percent of renters have policies versus 95 percent of homeowners who have home insurance.
Is My Pet Covered?
Most insurance companies provide coverage if your pet injures someone or damages a neighbor’s property. However, this coverage may not extend to your personal belongings damaged by your pet. Additionally, there may be limits for certain dog breeds or exotic animals. Dangerous dog breeds include:
- Doberman Pinschers
- German Shepherds
- Great Danes
- Pit bulls
What Should I Do if I’m Being Sued?
Lawsuits seem to be on the rise in recent years. If an injured guest files a claim against you, here are some steps to take:
- Collect information
- Contact your insurer
- Hire an attorney
If the damages or injuries are outside of coverage and your insurance is unable to help, an attorney can step in on your behalf.