Does Homeowner’s Insurance Cover Personal Injury?

If you get injured at the home of another person, will their homeowner’s insurance cover the physical and emotional cost of your injuries? Home or renter’s insurance can cover an injury but only up to a certain point. The best practice is to consult with an attorney right away. Unfortunately, many people buy homeowner’s insurance in Virginia without understanding what it covers or how it works.

What is Personal Injury on Homeowners?

A typical homeowners policy covers personal liability for accidents that occur on your property, or that are caused off your property by family members or pets. It can be a financial lifesaver as medical costs can quickly accumulate. The personal liability portion of homeowner’s insurance will also cover the cost of defending a lawsuit if you are sued. Personal injury issues that are not typically included in your standard homeowner’s insurance policy are wrongful eviction, violation of privacy, arrest, slander and defamation. A homeowner’s personal injury endorsement can extend coverage to any emotional damages you could be sued for. A home owner is not obligated to look for defects or to warn guests of hidden hazardous conditions they don’t know about. They do have a duty to repair known defects or to at least provide a warning. Liability is not a requirement, but it is very difficult to find a policy that does not include some liability coverage. Be sure to carefully review your home or renter’s insurance policy so that you have a solid understanding of what is and isn’t covered. A mistake or accident can quickly put all of your assets at risk if you are not properly insured.

Who is Covered?

Usually, anyone who is considered a family member and lives in your home would be covered by your policy. This includes your spouse, children, parents, in-laws, as well as anyone who works at your home such as babysitters. Note that tenants are not covered by your homeowner’s policy, if you rent out your home make sure your tenant has renter’s insurance to be protected. Dog Bites, slip, trips and falls are also big factors that come into play with homeowner’s insurance. For example, if your dog bites a child that came into your driveway, you may be able to make a claim on your homeowner’s insurance because the accident happened on the premises. You should always seek a knowledgeable and experienced attorney to determine whether you have a case.  Also, vehicles of your home are not covered under homeowner’s insurance policies. A neighbor’s child could throw a ball at your car while it is parked and break a window. It would not however, be covered under homeowner’s insurance. You could make the claim under your car insurance policy. Each homeowner’s policy has its own specific exclusions which vary by policy, it’s extremely important you find out what yours may be.

Personal Injury Endorsement

This rider is very common, it can be added to many homeowner’s policies. In some circumstances it may already be included in your policy. Personal injury liability coverage pays for mental or emotional injuries. This includes wrongful arrest, libel, wrongful entry, and slander. You may think it will never happen to you, but it is better to be safe than sorry. A personal injury endorsement works with medical payments portion of your homeowner’s policy. Medical payments help pay for reasonable and necessary medical expenses for anyone who accidentally gets injured on or around your property.

What You Need to Know

At the time the injury occurs, the statute of limitations in Virginia for personal injury is two years. There are a few insurance companies that will underwrite under insured premiums into homeowners policies that will cover you for injuries caused by others to you, on or off your property. Again, it is best to have an attorney review all provisions. When an experienced and dedicated personal injury attorney from Geoff McDonald & Associates takes your case, you can be assured that every opportunity for obtaining compensation for you will be fully pursued. We believe that having an aggressive law firm on your side can make all the difference.