Friday, June 18, 2010

Homeowner Liability

Once you have purchased a home and become a homeowner, you will have certain responsibilities. Obtaining the proper insurance for your home is an important first step. Most homeowners have liability insurance, but they don't actually understand their responsibility as a homeowner. When you own a home, you can be held responsible for any injury that happens on your property. Unfortunately, that also includes things that you have no control over.

There are many instances when a homeowner can be held liable, such as if someone slips on your doorstep and is injured, if a tree on your property falls and damages your neighbors property or even if your pet bites a visitor to your home.

What most homeowners will find surprising is that that even people who trespasss on your property and then injury themselves actually have legal recourse. The law states that once the owner is aware that there is a trespasser present on the property or can reasonably anticipate that a trespasser may be present, then the owner actually has a duty to exercise ordinary care in order to avoid injuring the trespasser.

It is important for homeowners to be aware of where their liability responsibility is and to make sure they have adequate insurance to cover any damages. For many people, the coverage included with their regular homeowners policy is enough. But in some situations, you may want more. Some common reasons to get more coverage include:

  • You own a swimming pool
  • You own a dog, especially if you own an aggressive breed of dogs, this will raise your homeowners premiums.
  • You frequently host social events. If you have parties often, the likelihood of someone getting hurt goes way up-especially if you’re serving alcohol at your parties.

As in all home owner insurance matters, take care to read your policy carefully. If you have questions about your premises liability coverage, ask your insurance agent. You might need separate riders to provide all the liability coverage necessary for your situation.