Homeowner’s Insurance Coverage for Personal Injury

What is homeowner’s insurance and what does it cover other than your home?

Homeowner’s insurance is an important source of accident and injury compensation for incidents in or outside of the home, not caused by motor vehicle accidents.  We all know that car insurance is the main source of compensation for car accident injuries, but what about other types of injuries?

Homeowner’s insurance does more than just protect your house: it protects and covers you if you harm someone else even if the harm occurs outside of the home – for example, in a park, on the street, or at a baseball game.  Homeowner’s insurance can include personal injury and liability coverage. This means that homeowner’s insurance can act as a vital source of compensation or money if you are injured by someone outside the context of an automobile accident and they have homeowner’s insurance.

What types of personal injuries can homeowner’s insurance cover?

1. Dog bites
2. Accidental shootings
3. Cooking accidents
4. Horseplay and accidental injuries

This list offers four types of personal injury cases that we have handled involving homeowner’s insurance.

1. Dog Bite Cases 

You have heard about dog bite cases. For example, the neighbor lets their dog out but does not bother with a leash. The dog runs into the yard next door and attacks a child or knocks down an elderly lady causing serious injury. Homeowner’s insurance can cover this. In this case, you could file a personal injury lawsuit against the dog owner for “failure to exercise ordinary care to keep the dog under control” and collect against the negligent dog owner’s homeowner’s policy.

2. Accidental Shooting Cases

Accidental shootings occur all too often in the news.  For example, boys are playing in a basement unsupervised. One child shows the other his dad’s gun (which was hidden under the bed, unlocked and loaded). Not knowing that it is loaded or how properly to handle the gun, the boy accidentally shoots his friend. Often this storyline has tragic results and there is never enough money to compensate for the loss of a child.  However, homeowner’s insurance would step in to compensate the victim’s family for the death.  In this instance, among other courses of action, the deceased’s family would sue the negligent parents for “failing to store and secure the gun with ordinary care.”

3. Cooking Accident Cases

Believe it or not, cooking can lead to serious injuries and compensation under a homeowner’s insurance policy.  Here is the scenario: the homeowner is cooking with hot grease. The homeowner leaves the hot grease within reach of a visiting toddler. The homeowner allows the visiting toddler to play near the hot grease. The toddler gets burned. The homeowner can be liable for “failure to exercise ordinary care” and the cook’s homeowner’s insurance can compensate the toddler for their burn injuries.

4. Horseplay and Accidental Injury Cases

We had a horseplay related case a number of years ago. Two high school students were playing around in the hall between classes. One student pushed the other student into a teacher that was walking down the hall. The teacher fell and broke her arm. The student’s homeowner’s insurance compensated the teacher for her injuries.

Other fact patterns or homeowner’s insurance cases

As you can see, homeowner’s insurance can compensate you for a wide variety of injuries in a variety of contexts.  Some examples of other injuries that could be covered under a homeowner’s insurance policy include fraternity hazing, a skier causing injury to another person on the slopes, a BB gun injury, and hunting accidents.

Who is covered under homeowner’s insurance?

The insurance policy holder and all relatives that reside in the home of the policyholder are covered by homeowner’s insurance.  For example, if Joe Smith the homeowner had a homeowner’s insurance policy and lived with his wife Jane, son James, and father grandpa Jim, everyone in his household would be covered under Joe Smith’s homeowner’s insurance policy.

What is not covered by homeowner’s insurance?

Homeowner’s Insurance Exclusions

There are a few acts that homeowner’s insurance does not cover, otherwise known as exclusions.  Most importantly, homeowner’s insurance does not cover intentional acts.  If an insured individual injures someone intentionally, that act is not covered.  Also, homeowner’s insurance does not cover injuries caused by crashes of cars, boats, or aircraft; there is specific car, boat, and aircraft insurance for those types of accidents.  Additionally, homeowner’s insurance does not cover injuries caused by a fellow employee while at work.

In order for homeowner’s insurance to apply, the negligent party must have or be covered by a homeowner’s insurance policy.  This may sound intuitive, but unlike car insurance which is more prominent, not everyone carries homeowner’s insurance.  Many renters do not carry homeowner’s insurance, meaning that if you are injured by a renter without homeowner’s insurance, there may be no source of funds to compensate you for your injuries.  On the flip side however, most homeowners have homeowner’s insurance because mortgage companies typically require the homeowner to establish homeowner’s insurance when purchasing a home.

Consultation

If unsure if you have a claim or whether your claim is covered by a homeowner’s insurance policy, give us a call at (804) 733-3100 or stop by to chat, we’re located at 220 North Sycamore Street, Petersburg, VA 23803.  You may also schedule a free consultation with us today by submitting the Schedule a Free Consultation form to the top right of this page. We don’t charge anything to sit down and talk.  We’re here to help.