What Does Personal Liability Insurance Cover?

Personal liability coverage protects you when you or a member of your household causes property or bodily damage. Read this guide on personal liability to learn what's covered.
Written by Rochelle Miller-Hernandez
Reviewed by Carrie Adkins
Personal liability insurance is designed to protect you and your assets in cases of accidents that are legally deemed your responsibility.
Without personal liability coverage, you could easily lose your home, personal income, and much more. As a part of your home insurance or
renters insurance
, it helps you protect yourself, your family, and the things you’ve worked hard for.
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What is personal liability coverage?

Personal liability coverage is a part of homeowners insurance that protects you when you're liable for injury or property damage to others.
To better understand how personal liability insurance protects you as part of your home insurance, imagine a delivery man walking up to your house to drop off a package. As you open the door, your dog escapes and bites him. Guess what happens next: the delivery man sues you for bodily injury.
Because the injury was caused by your dog, you will probably have to cover the cost for his medical expenses, loss of wages from missing work, and so forth and so on. However, if you have personal liability insurance as part of your homeowners policy, the amount you have to pay out for medical bills and other expenses should be considerably less.
What else does personal liability insurance cover? Here's a look at the most common items covered by this important aspect of your homeowners insurance.

Personal liability coverage for personal injury

Personal injury occurs when someone is injured and you're found directly or indirectly responsible for that injury. Your personal liability insurance policy will specifically define what incidents are covered, types of injuries and claims, how much will be paid by your insurance, and what you are liable for.
Not all incidents can be handled amicably. If you're sued and need to defend against legal action on a liability claim, your personal liability insurance will cover the cost of your attorney and related legal fees.

Personal liability coverage for medical payments

Whether or not you're found responsible for bodily injuries requiring medical attention, the cost will be covered within the limits outlined in your policy. Sometimes you can avoid court if you and the injured party can agree to no-fault medical payments.

Personal liability coverage for property damage to others

Property damage to others occurs when you're found responsible for damage to another person’s property, whether intentional or not. An example of this would be lightning hitting a tree in your yard and causing it to
damage your neighbor’s fence
or fall on their house.
While it was not your fault, the tree was on your property so any damage it causes is your responsibility. Sometimes, voluntary property damage payments can be arranged to avoid lawsuits.

Personal liability coverage for damage caused by your pets

Your dog decides to dig under the fence and makes it into your neighbor’s yard. In doing so, Fido bites through the wires to their security system and the neighbor’s cat escapes onto the street to be hurt by a car. Both the property damage and the injury to the cat is covered by this coverage.

Personal liability coverage for damage caused by other members of your household

Imagine your kids playing catch in the backyard. One of them decides to throw a fast pitch that flies over the fence, into your neighbor’s yard, and right through their window. The damage would be paid for under the property coverage of your personal liability insurance.
Of course, there are also instances of injury that your personal liability insurance will not cover. For example, if the injury is a result of an automobile accident, it will be covered under your
car insurance's bodily injury coverage
.
If the damage or injury is not an accident and intentionally happens through you or a household family member, it will not be covered under your personal liability insurance.
Also, it is important to note if the claims are related to a business, you are not protected and will need additional business insurance. Make sure to discuss your coverage and its policy limits with your insurance company so you know exactly what is (and isn't) included in your policy.
Key Takeaway Personal liability coverage is only needed if you are liable for injury or property damage, but not if someone else is liable.
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FAQs

What is personal liability coverage for renters insurance?

Personal liability coverage for renters insurance is the same thing as personal liability coverage for homeowners insurance: it's a type of insurance that covers you in the event that you accident harm someone else or their property. The only difference is that it's on a renters insurance policy, rather than a homeowners insurance policy.

Is family liability the same as personal liability?

Yes, effectively, family liability and personal liability are the same.
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