The weather is getting warmer and the sun is setting later. That may mean that you’re dreaming of backyard barbecues and parties with neighbors in the sun, right? Whatever the season, there are things you should be aware of (and take care of) before welcoming guests to your home. What if someone gets hurt on your property? Visitors can incur injuries in a variety of ways, and as a homeowner, you may be held responsible. Are you ready for that? Liability insurance covers certain categories in the event that someone gets hurt on your property, but that doesn’t apply to absolutely every situation.
Does Your Homeowner’s Policy Cover It?
First, always consult your policy or your agent to fully understand your coverage. According to Allstate Insurance Company, aliability policy typically covers the following things:
- Medical bills for injuries that occurred because you failed to do something.
- A person’s lost wages due to injury that occurred at your home.
- Legal costs in the case that someone sues you.
This policy may not cover dog bites and other injuries from dogs of certain breeds.
What is Not Covered?
Familiarize yourself with anything left out of your policy, as well. Examples include exempted dog bites or attacks and intentional acts. Do you have a trampoline? If someone gets hurt on your trampoline, a homeowner’s liability insurance policy won’t typically cover it. It depends on the specifics of the policy. This is because trampolines are items that, when used by young individuals, cause frequent injuries as this USA Today article outlines. Insurance companies generally don’t want to take on the risk. They could decline to issue an insurance policy if you have a trampoline. Otherwise, they may provide insurance but with a trampoline exclusion, add a surcharge, or require that you build in protection, like an enclosure around the trampoline. Each homeowner’s liability insurance policy has a list of exclusions. We suggest you talk to your agent to ensure that you fully understand what your policy covers.
How to Prepare for Visitors and Protect Against Potential Liability
Take what steps you can to protect yourself from charges of negligence. Understand the different levels of responsibility, depending on who the injured individual is to you. According to AllLaw.com, there arethree classifications to pay attention to.
- A trespasser doesn’t have permission to be on your property. Still, a homeowner must warn of potentially dangerous conditions that are not obvious. You do this by posting a sign where it is easy to see.
- A licensee is someone you’ve permitted on the property for non-business reasons (including social activity). As a homeowner, you must want them of potentially dangerous conditions, obvious or not.
- A guest is someone you’ve invited to your home. If you’ve invited someone over, you must take steps to ensure your home is safe. Mitigate potential dangers such as by filling in holes they could trip on, or kenneling dogs that might react.
Some situations won’t fit a straightforward insurance claim. For example, if someone drinks too much and gets into a fight with injuries, you could wind up in court. In that case, the insurance company may help you to pay legal fees, regardless of whether the court finds you at fault. If you are looking for legal guidance regarding your potential for liability when you host get-togethers this spring and summer, contact a reputable legal firm. We would be glad to help you protect yourself from issues that could arise as you enjoy the great weather with friends and family. IMAGE: Pixabay / CC0 Public Domain