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What Is Homeowner Liability?
Home ownership is a goal for many individuals and couples. However, owning a home carries much legal responsibilities with it. As a home owner, you become responsible in many ways for the safety and well-being of people who are entering and leaving your property. Basically, when you own a home you can be liable for all kinds of injuries that occur on your property, even if the injury or incident is out of your control.
Some examples of legal issues that involve homeowner’s liability may include:
- Injuries to visitors, i.e., “premises liability”
- Injuries resulting from the serving of alcohol at the person’s home
- The presence of drugs, illegal weapons, or contraband on the property
- Various zoning violations, especially where a structure of the property is extending out into public areas such as sidewalks
- Conflicts involving homeowner’s associations
- Rental disputes or conflicts
- Issues involving any home business operations
Thus, current and future homeowners need to be careful that they understand both their rights and their responsibilities. This can get tricky, since homeowner laws can vary from region to region.
What Is Homeowner’s Insurance?
Homeowner’s insurance can help protect the homeowner from liability in case anyone gets injured while on their property. There are many different types of homeownership insurance policies, many of which can provide the homeowner with relief in terms of the expenses associated with an injury.
On the other hand, no amount of homeowner’s insurance can do anything to actually prevent an injury from occurring. For example, if the homeowner knows that their stairs are in a state of disrepair, but they fail to do anything to fix it, someone could get injured. In that case, simply having insurance would not do much to prevent a guest or housemate from getting injured. Also, having homeowner’s insurance doesn’t prevent the homeowner from being sued in a court of a law.
In other words, home owner’s insurance can be effective for reducing the costs that happen after an injury or incident, but prevention of injuries is largely in the hands of the homeowner. They should take steps to regularly inspect their home for any potential dangers or flaws.
How Much Homeowners Insurance Coverage Should I Carry?
Standard homeowner’s liability coverage ranges from $100,000 to $500,000. The amount of coverage that you should carry depends on your lifestyle and the potential liability that you may face. If someone is injured in your home and sues you for $1,000,000 and your coverage is only $300,000, then you could face a big financial wall.
When Does Homeowner Insurance Coverage Kick In?
A homeowner’s liability insurance will kick in when there is an accident in your home and someone has been injured. This also applies when you, a family member, or even pets cause injury or damage away from your property. Homeowners insurance only kicks in when there is an accident. If someone was injured because of a deliberate or intentional act, homeowners insurance will not cover the injury.
If an injured party decides to bring a lawsuit against you for being injured in your home, your liability insurance applies and the insurer will pay court costs and covers the damages that the plaintiff is trying to recover. The amount of damages that is covered depends on the amount of coverage that you chose to carry.
Do I Need a Lawyer Concerning Homeowner Liability?
Homeowner liability should be a concern for all home owners. Owning a home also means being responsible for the basic safety of persons on the premises. If you need legal assistance, or have any questions about home ownership laws, you should contact a real estate attorney immediately. Your lawyer can help explain your rights and duties as a homeowner, and can represent you in the event that you need to go to court.
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Last Modified: 03-31-2016 10:40 AM PDT
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