Thursday, July 9, 2015

5 Most Common Homeowners Insurance Liability Claims

Many homeowners don't think much about liability or personal injury claims because they feel these aren't that common. Homeowners are more worried about if they are covered in case of a fire, flood, etc. The average size of a personal injury claim though, comes in second only to fires. So while they may not be as common, personal injury claims do occur and you don't want to be stuck paying for them out of pocket. Talk to  your insurance company at Lake of the Ozarks to make sure you're covered for these common homeowners insurance liability claims.

1. Animal Bites 

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 4.7 million people are bitten by dogs each year. More than 50% of those bites occur on a dog owner's property. Dog bites are probably the single most common cause of liability claims on a homeowner's insurance policy. The Insurance Information Institute estimates that dog bites account for 1/3 of all liability claims. A typical homeowners insurance policy includes liability coverage for damages and injuries caused by you or other members of your household, including pets. However, insurers often exclude some dog breeds as they represent higher risks. Other carriers ask about any animals owned or at the residence and question bite history to determine an offer of coverage.  If you have a dog or obtain a new animal, be sure to talk to your Lake of the Ozarks insurance agent to make sure you understand your coverage.

2. Slip and Fall Accidents

Injury accident claims are frequently filed against homeowners. If you are found negligent, you can be held liable for any injuries sustained on your property. Examples of these claims could include:
  • Slipping or Tripping on Stairs
  • Slipping or Tripping on Rugs, Carpets or the Floor
  • Slipping on Ice or Snow
  • Tripping on a Broken Path or Sidewalk

3. Falling Objects

Falling trees are common hazards, especially during the winter. If you have a tree on your property that falls and damages your neighbor's home or vehicle, you can be held liable for the damages. If you know a tree posing hazard is on your property, such as a dead one, you are responsible for either trimming the branches or removing it completely before it causes any damage.

4. Worker Injuries

If you hire workers to come into your home to clean, make repairs, etc. you could be held liable for any injuries that occur on the job. Some workers will have worker's compensation insurance to cover lost wages and medical payments if they are injured while working in your home. However, many independent contractors are not required to carry insurance and in this case, your homeowner's insurance may be required to pay the claim.   It is a good practice to obtain a Certificate of Insurance from all of your contractors showing proof of coverage for their General Liability and Workers Compensation.

5. Intoxicated Guests

If you host a party where an intoxicated guest harms other people or property, you could be held responsible. Most homeowner's insurance policies include host liquor liability coverage. Claims arising from intoxicated guests are typcially covered. These laws, known as social host laws vary around the country, but 37 states have adopted them. Talk to your insurance agent about the coverage in your state. 

For any questions regarding your Lake of the Ozarks homeowners insurance coverage, contact Insure the Lake at 573-348-2794. Our goal is to work with our companies to find the most comprehensive insurance coverage for the best price! 

Request a Free Quote Online! Contact Insure the Lake today for all your Lake of the Ozarks insurance needs! 

About the Author: Steve is a double back-flip insurance ninja. He was named Young Insurance Agent of the Year by the Missouri Association of Insurance Agents in 2010 and is a Certified Insurance Counselor. When he is not helping customers, he enjoys community service, Latin dancing with his beautiful wife and going on adventures with his two awesome sons.

Steve Naught, CIC
3736 Osage Beach Parkway
Osage Beach, MO 65065
Next to Golden Coral