It probably goes without saying, but you should do everything you can to make your home as safe as possible for anyone who comes over. It’s not only the right thing to do to help protect them, but it can help protect you from the legal mess of having someone seriously injured or killed at your house. If that does happen, many people are left wondering who is responsible for the funeral costs, and if it will be covered by homeowners insurance. Read on to find out.
Why is homeowners insurance related to funerals?
There’s a common misconception that homeowners insurance only impacts your house. However, that’s not true at all. Homeowners insurance actually has six distinct categories of coverage: dwelling (your home); other structures (such as sheds, fences, and garages); loss of use (to pay for your living expenses if you have to stay in a hotel); personal property (the things you own that are on your property); medical payments (if someone is injured on your property, even if they’re at fault), and personal liability (if someone is injured on your property and you’re found liable).
That last category is the one that’s important here. If someone is injured (in this case fatally) on your property, and you’re deemed to be at fault (or even just accused of being at fault), your personal liability coverage on your homeowners insurance will kick in. Personal liability coverage is specifically for injuries to people on your property that you’re responsible for, and that includes death.
Does homeowners insurance cover funeral expenses?
Homeowners insurance doesn’t explicitly cover the cost of funeral expenses. However, it is definitely a gray area, and if you or your property are found liable for someone’s death, it could be that your homeowners insurance will cover the cost of the funeral.
Here’s how personal liability coverage works. If someone is injured, fatally or otherwise, on your property, and decides that you are liable, then your coverage kicks in. You will likely have to go to court to defend yourself, at which point it will be determined whether or not you actually were liable. But don’t worry: Part of the personal liability coverage is for your legal fees, so those will be covered under your homeowners insurance policy.
In most cases, personal liability coverage covers between $100,000 and $500,000. That includes your legal bills, but also the medical bills for the person who was injured or killed. At this point, things are in the hands of the legal system. If the court finds you liable for the person’s death, they could decide that you are financially responsible for the funeral expenses. Then your homeowners insurance might help you out.
Is it common for homeowners insurance to cover funeral expenses?
No. Most of the time funeral expenses come out of pocket from the deceased family, or from the person having funeral insurance. Your homeowners insurance may end up paying a huge sum in medical bills and legal expenses, but usually won’t have to cover a funeral.
Furthermore, sometimes a court will rule that you are legally responsible for funeral costs, but it isn’t included in your personal liability coverage, and you’ll have to pay out of pocket.
Hopefully no one ever dies on your property, and you don’t have to worry about funeral expenses. But if you do, things will usually land in the hands of the court.