Do I Need Personal Liability Insurance?

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Picture of By <span>Matthew Roberts</span>
By Matthew Roberts

Updated on June 27, 2024

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Picture of By <span>Matthew Roberts</span>
By Matthew Roberts

Updated June 27, 2024

Visit author page

3 minute read

Article Contents

What is Personal Liability Insurance and Do I Need It?

Navigating the world of home insurance can sometimes feel like deciphering a complex puzzle. But, as always, MyChoice is here to guide you through it. Today, we’re diving deep into the topic of personal liability insurance. By the end of this article, you’ll clearly understand its importance and whether you need it.

What is Liability Insurance?

Liability insurance, in the context of home insurance, is a coverage that protects you against legal matters related to your property. It covers the legal fees when you are sued over issues with your property. This can range from someone slipping on an icy patch on your driveway to a dog bite incident in your backyard.

What is Personal Liability Coverage?

Personal liability is an integral part of it when you buy any type of property insurance, be it home insurance, condo insurance, or tenant insurance. If you or a household member is found responsible for bodily injury or property damage, personal liability coverage safeguards you from the financial repercussions of a lawsuit. Given the rapid accumulation of legal fees, medical bills, and potential payouts, this coverage is vital to your insurance policy.

How Much Personal Liability Coverage Do I Need?

While most personal liability insurance policies provide $100,000 of coverage by default, this might not be enough when you factor in potential medical bills and legal fees. It’s generally recommended to have a minimum of $1 million personal liability coverage on your property insurance policy. If your budget allows, consider increasing your limit to options ranging from $2 million to $5 million.

Home Liability Insurance Coverage: What’s Included?

  1. Bodily Injury: This covers accidents like someone slipping on an icy driveway or tripping over. It also includes more specific instances like dog bites or injuries resulting from serving alcohol to guests.
  2. Property Damage: This covers damages to another person’s property. For instance, if a tree from your yard falls and damages your neighbour’s fence, this would come under property damage.

What Does Liability Insurance Cover?

  • Medical Fees: Most policies will cover medical expenses resulting from an accident on your property. This can be a lifesaver, especially when faced with hefty medical bills.
  • Legal Fees: If a claim goes to court, your insurance will often cover the lawyer fees and any fines assigned by the court up to the limits of your policy.

Does Liability Insurance Work Differently for Renters?

For renters, personal liability insurance works largely the same way. However, they are typically only responsible for incidents within their living spaces. For instance, if someone trips over a loose carpet in a common area of an apartment building, the renter wouldn’t be liable. But if the same incident happens inside their apartment, they would be.

Do I Legally Need Personal Liability Insurance?

While it’s not a legal requirement, its protection makes it a sensible choice. Imagine facing a lawsuit without the financial backing of insurance. The costs could be overwhelming.

What is Not Covered by Personal Liability Insurance?

Your home insurance or tenant insurance typically encompasses certain personal liability claims. Yet, some instances might not fall under this coverage. Some prevalent examples include:

  • Liabilities stemming from vehicular accidents. Your auto insurance should address such claims.
  • Deliberate harm or property damage inflicted by you or a household member.
  • Injuries or damages experienced by you or other insured individuals within your residence.
  • Bodily harm or property damage resulting from your professional or business activities. A home-based business insurance policy should encompass claims emerging from business-related actions.
Do I Need Personal Liability Insurance?

What If I’m Accountable for Damage or Injury But Haven’t Been Legally Challenged?

Although it doesn’t strictly fall under “liability coverage”, your home insurance might offer a provision for voluntary compensation in situations where you’re accountable for damage or injury but aren’t facing legal action. For instance, if an errant golf swing of yours results in a chipped tooth for your neighbour, you can willingly offer to settle his dental expenses — with your insurer stepping in to handle the costs.

How Can You Guarantee Sufficient Protection?

It’s an inevitable fact of life: accidents occur, no matter how cautious we are. To safeguard against bearing the financial brunt of damages or medical expenses, having personal liability insurance in place is prudent. A coverage limit of $1 million is generally advised, though $2 million or even higher is preferable. Often, enhancing your coverage limit doesn’t significantly increase your monthly premiums. Given that legal charges, medical expenses, and potential settlements can accumulate rapidly, ensuring you’re adequately protected is crucial.

Bottom Line

Personal liability insurance is more than just another line item on your home insurance policy. It’s a safety net, protecting you against unforeseen incidents that could have significant financial implications. As always, MyChoice is here to guide you through the insurance maze, offering various options tailored to your needs.

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