Homeowners insurance—everyone knows what it’s for, of course. When a hail storm shatters a few windows; when a violent wind storm damages your roof, or when a fire breaks out, you give the insurance company a call and ask them to send out an assessor.
However, what happens if someone is injured in your home or on your property? What if your dog bites them, and they decide to file a personal injury claim against you? Are you protected, and if so, to what extent?
The fact is, in Oregon, most homeowner’s insurance covers injuries, but some policies may only provide limited coverage, for personal injuries or property damage to others for which you may be held legally liable. In fact, the injuries or damage don’t necessarily have to happen on your property.
In all cases, you should check your policy to see what types of claims are covered, and here’s a hint. It might be a good idea to check what’s covered—and what’s not—before that coverage is needed. Policies vary based on a number of variables, including the policy type and which insurance company is handling your policy, so if you have any questions, phone your insurer.
Types of liability covered
Again, as a general rule, Oregon homeowner’s insurance covers injuries or offers liability protection at two distinct levels, including:
- Personal liability. This part of your policy covers claims against you arising from:
- Bodily injury to others caused by an accident on your property
- Property damage to others caused by an accident on your property
- Accidents away from your property, caused by you or family members who live with you
- Medical payments. This part of your policy will pay the medical expenses incurred by people who are accidentally injured on your property, regardless of who was at fault, but only up to your policy’s stated limits.
What’s more, your policy will pay for your legal defense if you’re sued for something covered under your policy. Finally, there is typically no deductible for personal injury or medical payments coverage, and you’ll most likely be covered against claims even when you travel outside the country.
Sounds good! Is there anything else covered I should know about?
Other examples of situations in which you should be covered under your homeowner’s policy include:
- Your dog chasing the postal service employee down the street and having a bite
- When the child you’ve told a thousand times to stay out of your apple tree breaks their arm falling out of your apple tree
- When that horrible slice you thought the golf lessons had eliminated comes back on the course, and your drive on the 18th hits a golfer on the 16th fairway in the back of the head
- When you’re pushing a supermarket trolley too hard because it has one of those sticky wheels, and you end up driving it into the leg of a lady with a bad hip
Looks like I’ve got nothing to worry about…
Not so fast! The list of things that aren’t covered under the typical homeowner’s policy is almost as long as the things that are. In any of the following cases, you’ll have to find another way to cover any damages or liability, because your insurance company won’t want to know:
- Injuries to family members living with you
- Injuries that occur as a direct result of business activities
- Injuries or property damage caused by intentional acts
- Damage or injuries that would normally be covered by yours or someone else’s auto insurance policy
- Claims that are covered by worker’s compensation insurance
Most Oregon homeowner’s policies will provide a minimum of $100,000 of cover for each individual occurrence that gives rise to a claim. They tend to reach a maximum cover of $300,000. If you’re found liable for anything beyond that figure, it’s up to you to cover the balance. These are guideline figures, so if you’re not sure, check with your insurance company. If you think you might need more cover, increase the liability cover limits, or take out an umbrella policy that provides extra cover for amounts exceeding what’s covered by your homeowner’s policy.
It’s good to be a homeowner in Oregon
The average annual cost of homeowners insurance in the United States is $791, according to the most recent data available. In Oregon, however, homeowners are fortunate enough to pay one of the lowest average premiums in the country.
Only Idaho, at $387 per year, and Utah, at $432 per year, have cheaper average homeowner’s policies than Oregon, which comes in at just $439 per year. And that can be money well spent if anyone ever slips on an icy sidewalk in front of your house.
Clearly, the circumstances involving any Oregon personal injury claim can be quite complex, and you’d want to be something of an expert in the fields of both law and insurance to work out what’s what. That’s why anyone thinking of making such a claim should contact a knowledgeable and experienced Portland personal injury attorney for a free consultation. They understand how the system works, and they know how to deal with reluctant insurance companies. What’s more, if you decide to pursue a claim and your personal injury lawyer doesn’t win your case, it will cost you nothing.
For peace of mind, and to get the compensation you and your family deserve, make the call and get your questions answered.