Consider for a moment the possibility of an accident occurring on your property. For example, if Nancy Neighbor slips and falls on your front deck and decides to hold you liable for having a dangerous, slick surface on your property, you could face huge court costs, medical bills and other legal expenses in the resulting lawsuit. Many homeowners accept the $100,000 in personal liability coverage per claim that typically comes with standard home insurances policies to help protect themselves against lawsuits when accidents such as this occur on their properties. However, it is sometimes recommended to increase your limits to $300,000 or more depending on your personal circumstances.
Following are a few examples of reasons some homeowners choose to increase their personal liability coverage for additional peace of mind:
You own a dog
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, almost 5 million people are bitten by dogs in the United States every year, and nearly 900,000 of those injured require medical treatment. Certain types of dogs are more likely to prompt an increase in coverage than others; obviously, a feisty Chihuahua is much less likely to be involved in an expensive injury lawsuit than a pitbull. Some insurers may require a higher coverage limit if you own a breed that’s considered to have the potential to be aggressive, including bulldogs, Dobermans, German shepherds, Rottweilers, pitbulls and others. If you own a dog, talk to your licensed agent to find out whether it would be a wise investment for you to purchase additional liability coverage to protect yourself against lawsuits resulting from dog bites.
You own a swimming pool or trampoline
Drowning is the second leading cause of accidental injury-related deaths among children ages 1-14 and the leading cause of accidental injury-related death among children ages 1-4. If you have a swimming pool on your property, you’ll likely be required to increase your personal liability coverage in order to protect yourself against accidents and injuries. It’s also highly recommended to build a barrier such as a locked gate or fence around the pool, cover it when it is not in use and never let children play in the area unsupervised.
Another dangerous asset to have on your property is a trampoline. In 2009, almost 100,000 people were injured as a result of jumping on trampolines, and more than 3,000 of those injured required hospitalization. Most insurers require increased coverage limits if you have a trampoline on your property, and it is highly recommended to practice extreme caution and smart safety measures when allowing your kids or anyone else to play on it.
You entertain guests often
The more often you hold large parties or get-togethers, the more likely it is that an accident could happen on your property for which you could be held liable. For example, if a guest spills wine on another guest’s priceless mink coat, you could actually be sued for the damage. If a guest’s child gets burned on the grill while you’re serving hamburgers at a neighborhood cookout in your yard, you could be held liable for the resulting medical bills. You could even face problems if a guest has too much to drink at your house and then causes an automobile accident on the way home. If you often entertain guests at your home, it’s extremely important to talk to your licensed insurance agent and understand exactly what your coverage can help protect you against.