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What Is Personal Liability Insurance for Renters?

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  • What Is Personal Liability Insurance for Renters?

Personal liability insurance for renters, also known as Coverage E of your renters insurance policy, is designed to pay medical bills and cover legal expenses if someone is injured or suffers a loss on your property and you’re found liable. It can also help pay for damages to other people’s property.

The most common claims associated with personal liability are accidental injuries and dog bites. While you may believe injuries on your property are rare, those jungle gyms, swings, pools and trampolines in your backyard can be quite dangerous and cause some pretty hefty medical bills. Since you own them and have them on your property, you’d be liable for any injuries that are associated with them.

On the other side of the spectrum, if a lightning storm strikes a tree on your property, causing it to crash down on the neighbor’s roof, your policy’s liability protection could help pay for the repairs to their home.

Does Renters Insurance Cover Personal Injury?

Yes, renters insurance covers personal injury to others under the liability portion of a policy if the injury occurred on your property or was a result of a dog bite on or off your property. It will help pay for medical bills related to the incident and, if you’re sued due to the incident, it will also cover legal fees up to your policy’s maximum.

For coverage to kick in, the injury or loss must have occurred accidentally and unintentionally. However, your policy’s personal injury protection doesn’t cover injuries to you or anyone else who lives in the home.

How Much Personal Liability Coverage Do I Need?

The average renters insurance policy typically comes standard with $100,000 worth of personal liability coverage, which means your insurer will pay a maximum of $100,000 for each liability claim if it’s covered. But you can add more coverage through your carrier or via an umbrella policy if your living situation may leave you a bit more vulnerable to risk.

For many people, the standard $100,000 should be more than enough. But in some more rare cases, you may fit the bill to increase your maximums. Let’s take a look at which individuals should consider increasing their personal liability insurance for renters.

Dog Owners

Dog bites are one of the most expensive injury claims filed with home insurance companies, and your policy provides you a bit more coverage in this area. Renters insurance provides coverage for dog bites that occur both on and off your property. So if you’re walking your dog down the street or you’re three states away on vacation, and they bite someone, your policy should protect you.

In a dog-bite scenario, assuming you have the standard coverage of $100,000, your policy would cover medical bills to the other person and your legal fees if they sue you. While you’d be covered for up to $100,000 per claim, you’d be responsible for the remaining cost if the claim exceeded $100,000.

There were 17,802 dog bite claims that cost insurers $796.8 million in 2019, averaging $44,759.83 per claim. Those averages mean there were more than just a few dog bite claims that topped the $100,000 mark and involved both injuries and lawsuits.

If you have a dog, you may want to reconsider purchasing $300,000 or $500,000 worth of liability coverage to make sure you’re covered — and that you don’t have to pay out of pocket for any damages associated with the claim.

Attractive Nuisances

If you’re living in a house, attractive nuisances are great to have because they provide an extra layer of fun around the house. In the world of insurance, however, attractive nuisances are just that — attractive for residents and nuisances for home insurance claims.

Things like swimming pools, hot tubs, trampolines and playground equipment are all considered attractive nuisances — and are all associated with some pretty expensive home insurance claims. And since they’re on your property, whether you bought them or not, you can be held liable for injuries they bring (except renters living in apartments where those items are considered common property).

The most dangerous of the bunch is swimming pools. Since they can lead to accidental drowning and extremely expensive lawsuits, they’re also some of the most costly home insurance claims.

Renters with swimming pools at their house may want to opt for $500,000 to $1 million worth of liability coverage just in case something goes terribly wrong. Renters with any other attractive nuisance may want to consider opting for $300,000 to $500,000 worth of coverage.

High-Wealth Individuals

If you’re a high-wealth individual — even if you don’t own a dog or have attractive nuisances on your property — with a net worth of $1 million or more, you may want to opt for at least $1 million worth of liability coverage. This is typically done through an umbrella policy, which is usually cheaper than getting extra coverage added onto your renters policy.

The reason to do this is that high-net-worth individuals are bigger targets for costly lawsuits. While the accident or damage would still have to qualify for coverage under your renters policy, adding an umbrella policy helps mitigate exponential losses from lawsuits.

What’s Excluded in Renters Personal Liability Coverage?

As previously mentioned, injuries that occur to anyone on the policy or living in the home will not be covered by your renters personal liability coverage. Additionally, injuries or damage involving a vehicle wouldn’t be covered, as you would need to file a claim with your auto insurer.

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The editorial content on Clovered’s website is meant to be informational material and should not be considered legal advice.