Many people believe that their homeowner’s insurance only provides them with coverage if they suffer a theft, fire or other serious loss involving or occurring at their home. In fact homeowner’s (and tenant’s) insurance provides you with much more than just protection of your home.
For instance, all homeowner’s and tenant’s insurance policies in Ontario provide liability coverage to policy holders in the event that they are sued after accidentally injuring someone or accidentally destroying property. This coverage means that your insurance company would provide you with a lawyer to defend the claim and any judgment against you would be paid by the insurance company up to the policy limits. It is important to note that this coverage applies for injuries suffered anywhere in the world (not just at your home). However this liability coverage does not apply if the injury involved a motor vehicle or if the injured person is someone who lives in your home with you. For example, your home insurance would likely respond if you accidentally left water on the floor in your hotel room in Mexico and a fellow tourist slipped, broke her arm and subsequently sued you. However, if the person who broke their arm is your spouse you would likely not have coverage for that loss.
Unlike auto insurance, not all homeowner’s insurance policies in Ontario contain identical wording. Common exclusions in homeowner’s policies include mould and water damage, natural disasters, sewer backup and intentional damage to property. It is important that you read your policy carefully to determine what is covered and what is excluded. Consulting a lawyer after you have been injured is the best way to ensure that your rights are protected.