One misconception about homeowner's liability insurance coverage is that it only covers incidents in the home.

In fact, the coverage under the comprehensive personal liability portion of your homeowner's policy is generally not limited by location. It is, however, limited by the liability caps on your policy.

Here are some examples of what likely would be covered by the personal liability portion of your policy:

Sports incidents. For example, you are playing golf and you drive a ball that hits someone in the head. They require immediate medical attention, which causes them to miss weeks of work. If you are found liable, your policy will likely provide coverage.


After shopping at your local market, you accidentally drop a bottle of olive oil in the parking lot, and it shatters and bleeds the oil onto the pavement. Another shopper comes long, slips and seriously injures themselves on the pavement.


While the assumption is that the injured party will take action against the market, the typical practice of attorneys is to go after everyone associated with the incident, and that would include you. Your policy should provide coverage if you are deemed liable.


You are on vacation at a hotel, and you are so excited to leave the room to enjoy a sightseeing tour that you forget to turn off the faucet. The running water causes significant damage to the hotel structure. The hotel decides to go after you for damages. Your policy will defend you and may pay out damages if you are found liable.


Your kid lends his skateboard to a friend, and the friend, who may not be experienced with the board, gets seriously injured trying to make a maneuver. Parents can be held liable for this injury, but there is a very good chance this will be covered by the personal liability portion of your policy.


If your dog bites a stranger at the park, your policy will cover you as the owner and responsible party for the dog, as long as the policy does not exclude coverage for its breed. Some homeowner's policies exclude coverage for breeds deemed "dangerous," such as pit bulls.


Additionally, the liability portion will usually extend coverage for the following items, even if an incident happens away from the insured premises:

*Trailers that are not attached to a motor vehicle.
*Motorized golf carts.
*Watercraft that do not have a motor or are not more than a specified horsepower.
*Sailboats below a certain length.
*A vacation residence; however, certain conditions may apply, and the property may need to be added to the policy.
*Non-motorized bikes.


What isn't covered

Here are examples where coverage does not exist and is excluded by nearly every homeowner's insurance policy:

*Cars are generally excluded.
*Motorized recreational vehicles, most especially if they are off-premises.
*Any incident related to business. Almost all homeowner's policies exclude business incidents.
*Intentional acts. Most policies have language against such acts.
*Policies vary, so it is important to review yours to see what may or may not be covered.

Additionally, some policies allow you to endorse a coverage that may not be on the policy. This is why it is so important to sit down with us to address additional risks you may have and make sure coverage for those risks is addressed.

The takeaway

Liability coverage is perhaps the most important coverage you should have, simply because most of these cases involve attorneys and, if coverage exists, the insurers provide for your defense, as well as any settlement for up to the limits of your policy.

If you are concerned about any potential liability issues, call a licensed insurance professional who can give you expert advice. If you don't already have an agent you know and trust, please feel free to call me at 516-755-7966. 

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