Updated January 1, 1 . AmFam Team
Accidents happen, and as a homeowner, you, your children or your pets can be held responsible for injuries to people in or outside your home or damage to other people’s property. The good news is your policy can give you financial protection against covered liability claims.
Your homeowners insurance provides both property and liability protection. Property insurance protects the structure of your home (dwelling coverage) and your belongings (personal property coverage). And personal liability coverage protects you if you’re legally responsible for damage to someone’s property, or if you accidentally injure someone whether you’re at home or away from it.
How exactly does personal liability insurance protect you? Let’s break it down.
If someone is injured on your property, your personal liability insurance helps pay for their medical bills and other potential costs. For example, if the injury resulted from your neglect — like failing to repair a broken banister — you may even be sued. And if you’re found liable, liability coverage within your homeowners policy may help protect your finances if legal expenses result.
Let’s say your children are kicking a soccer ball in the yard and they accidentally kick it through your neighbor’s window. Fortunately, even though it wasn’t your own home that was damaged, if accidental damage occurs to someone else’s property by a member of your household, the liability portion of your homeowners insurance helps provide protection against associated costs from the accident.
Whether out walking Fido or playing in your yard, the liability portion of your homeowners insurance policy will typically help provide protection if your dog bites a person or another animal. Keep in mind, not all dogs will meet the criteria to be included under your policy. Connect with your agent to check if your dog is eligible and learn more about the limits of the liability coverage. Here’s a closer look at homeowners insurance and dogs.
Though it’s important to know the many ways in which personal liability insurance protects you, it’s also important to understand what it doesn’t cover.
This coverage is designed to protect you if you accidentally injure or damage the property of a guest, neighbor or anyone who isn’t a member of your household. And it’s not an alternative or supplement to your health insurance. For instance, if you or a family member are injured in your home, your personal liability coverage won’t cover resulting medical bills — that’s what your health insurance is for.
Also, if you or a family member intentionally cause harm to someone, you won’t be able to depend on your personal liability coverage for financial protection.
Like any coverage, your personal liability coverage offers protection up to your policy limit, which is the capped amount your insurance company pays in the event of a claim. You’ll choose your coverage limit when creating your policy, and any expense that extends beyond your limit will come out of your pocket. The good news is you can increase your coverage.
For extra protection and added peace of mind, umbrella insurance provides an additional layer of liability coverage above your policy limit, so you won’t have to dig into your own savings in the event of a substantial claim.
For example, we mentioned that personal liability coverage helps cover you if your dog injures someone — which is an important protection to have in place. But a dog bite claim can often surpass your personal liability coverage limit. Having umbrella insurance provides an additional layer of protection should a claim exceed the liability limits you selected within your homeowners policy and helps protect you assets.
Remember, costs can vary depending on the amount of coverage you’re looking for. That’s why your best bet is to connect with your American Family agent (Opens in a new tab) to discuss policy amounts and limits — they’ll help customize your policy to ensure you have the right limits for your unique needs.