If you own a home, you most likely have homeowner’s insurance. But, do you understand your policy and what it actually covers? There are two main types of claims. One, the liability provision covers others if they are injured on your property. Two, first-party claims occur with instances such as storm damage.
Understanding Liability Coverage
Your liability provision will cover the other person’s losses due to the injury. This could include lost income, pain and suffering and medical bills up to the limits of your coverage. If the losses exceed your coverage and the injured party files a suit against you, then the insurance company will provide your legal defense.
For example, if you have $300,000 of liability homeowner’s insurance coverage, then the insurance company will cover everything for the injured party up until that amount has been reached. After that amount has been reached, you are required to pay any additional costs. While it is unusual for you to pay over your policy amount, it can happen. Most homeowners’ insurance policies have an “umbrella” provision. This provision is to give the homeowner extra protection in these kinds of situations.
Negligence, Intentional Torts and Strict Liability
Most injuries that occur at your house or on your property will be covered under your policy. These are accidental injuries that are covered by the legal notion of negligence such as a slip and fall. It is important to note that the injured party still must prove that you did not reasonably care for your property or keep it hazard free.
When an intentional act injury occurs, such as you assaulting someone on your property, then your homeowner’s insurance policy will probably not cover any injuries. One caveat, if you shoot someone who is trying to rob your house or if someone comes on your property with the intent to cause you harm or rob you, the law does allow the owner the right to defend themselves with a reasonable response.
Some injuries do not need to prove negligence. Georgia is a “negligence” state when it comes to dog bites and other animal-related injuries. A person can likely make a third party claim if your dog bites them and they do not have to prove fault.
All homeowners should know their liability insurance coverage and whether they have an “umbrella” plan. Hopefully, you will never have a need to use it. Also be aware of intentional and negligence injuries, regarding claim filings.