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What is Personal Liability Coverage?

personal liability coverage

Every home insurance policy includes personal liability coverage. It’s the coverage that is designed to protect you financially if you’re determined to be responsible for damages or injuries to other people. If you have a family, personal liability also extends to household members. This means, if your teenager accidentally damages your neighbor’s fence and it’s a covered loss, you will be covered. Personal liability is not only standard in your home insurance policy but it’s also included in the condo, renters, or landlord policies.

Personal liability coverage, what’s in and out?

While this cover provides a broad range of incidents, it does not cover everything. Its primary purpose is to protect you against damages you cause to others. Here is a quick summary list of the types of things that are and are not covered:

What’s coveredWhat’s not covered
Injuries caused to othersAutomobile accidents
Damages caused to othersIntentional harm or damage to others
Lawyer costs, Lawsuits & legal feesInjuries or & damages caused to you
Dog bites (this can be excluded to save money)Claims related to your business

So, what are the covered incidents?

  • Injuries on your property: If a person is injured on your property and you are considered liable or legally responsible, personal liability insurance can help pay for that person’s injuries. Your policy will have a limit, selected by you, so select wisely because your policy will only pay up to the limit.
  • Damage to others’ property: Should you or a household member cause damage to another person (outside your household), this coverage applies if you were considered at fault. For example, if your teenager is playing football in the backyard, and accidentally throws the ball through your neighbor’s window, you could be covered.
  • Lawsuits and lawyer/court fees: If you or your insurance adjuster cannot resolve a claim for damages or injuries amicably and you’re sued over the incident, your personal liability coverage can help pay for a lawyer and legal expenses. It will also pay for the final settlement of the claim against you.
  • Dog bites (varies by insurer): The typical home insurance policy includes dog bites. However, it is always best, if you own a dog, to ask your insurance agent before your buy to be sure the policy you’re considering includes dog bites. If they don’t, you may have to purchase animal liability coverage to be covered for dog bites. If you want to save money, other insurance carriers may allow you to exclude dog bites from coverage. If you have certain dangerous or aggressive breeds, you may not be able to purchase coverage from some insurance carriers.

So, what are the things that are not covered?

  • Car accidents: Your home insurance is for personal liability. If you require liability for your car, then you need auto liability insurance. Auto liability covers you for damages or injuries you cause while driving, while personal liability is for you and your household members other than driving liabilities.
  • Intentional harm or damage: Personal liability coverage is not for intentional acts. Therefore, injuries or damages you or a household member purposely or intentionally cause to someone else are not covered.
  • Your own injuries or damages: Personal liability coverage is not intended for injuries or damages you cause to yourself or your family members. For injuries, you would need to seek payment from your health insurance, and for property, it may be covered under personal property insurance.
  • Business claims: If there are claims made against you related to your business or profession, even if operated from your home, are not covered. You should have business insurance for your professional or business activities.

How much personal liability coverage should I buy?

It’s important to understand just how much home insurance coverage you need to buy. The limit you select for personal liability is a critical selection when buying your policy. The limits offered most commonly for personal liability coverage are $100,000, $300,000, and $500,000.

What’s the right amount for you?

When determining the right liability limit for you, a good starting point is to match or exceed your net worth. For example, if after adding up your savings, equity in the property, retirement funds, and other personal assets you determine your net worth is roughly $200,000, you should select at least $300,000 in coverage limits. Selecting $100,000 would be insufficient. If you determine your network is greater than $500,000, and want to purchase more protection, some carriers do offer up to $1,000,000 in personal liability limit. However, you should actually consider purchasing an umbrella insurance policy to extend your limits. An umbrella offers broader protection and will include both personal and auto insurance liabilities.

If you have a “risky” property, you may need to purchase more protection. For instance, if you have a pool or trampoline, you simply have a greater risk of an accident. In fact, your home may actually be an “attractive nuisance,” exposing you to the risk of a random child entering your property to play, only to become injured and make you liable. So, if you have a high-risk property, or one possibly considered an attractive risk, consider raising your personal liability coverage limit to meet that risk.


To reduce the mitigate attractive nuisance risks, you need to take steps to make the property more secure or safe. First, you need to have the proper fencing around your pool, including a locking gate. Your local regulations may require this, and your home insurance may not insure you if you don’t meet the basic standards for fencing your pool.  Not all insurance carriers will insure your property if you have an outdoor trampoline, if they do you will be required to secure the trampoline with a net. Regardless, if you own a trampoline this is just good sense.

How much does personal liability insurance cost?

The average cost of a homeowners policy is based on your home’s replacement cost value and the limits you select. In this way, it is very unique to the individual. However, our average home insurance policy sold pays an estimated $101 per month when purchased through our insurance carrier partners. However, personal liability coverage is typically the least expensive part of a home policy. Generally speaking, an insured can typically increase their personal liability limit without dramatically raising the monthly premium costs.

Does homeowners insurance cover accidental death?

Once again, your personal liability insurance coverage does not provide benefits for your injuries or damages. This would include death benefits. However, it may provide death benefits to the family of someone who passes away due to an accident on your property. It may even include covering their funeral costs and related expenses.

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