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As a trial lawyer I frequently see people that are at least surprised, if not financially devastated, because they failed to have proper insurance. Liability insurance, also known as third-party liability insurance, protects you against being sued by another person for your mistakes.
Imagine your dog biting someone, or your child injuring someone, bumping an elderly pedestrian who falls and injures themselves, or leaving your stove on and damaging your neighbours home. Without proper insurance the consequences of momentary, common inattention can have ruinous financial consequences.
Typical liability insurance policies provide $1,000,000 in coverage to pay for legal costs to defend you against law suits, and for money that may have to be paid to another person, usually an injured person, because of a settlement with them or a court judgment against you. Liability insurance coverage for private individuals is typically part of their homeowners insurance. Although policies differ, almost every homeowner’s insurance policy will provide $1,000,000 in coverage to the owners of the home, and the members of their family living in the home. Most mortgages require that the home owner carry home owner’s insurance.
This liability overage will typically exclude coverage for accidents arising out of the use of a vehicle, because that coverage is provided for by your auto insurer (in BC this is ICBC with extended coverage provided by other insurers). It will also exclude coverage for intentional acts, such as assault. The coverage afforded protects you from claims for negligence, both on your property, and off your property.
What many people do not know is that a renter’s insurance policy also provides liability coverage. Depending on the part of the Province, 20% to 40% of the BC population rent. Many of these people do not carry renters insurance because most assume it only covers value of your belongings, and many renters do not believe their belongings justify the insurance.
What most do not realize is that renters policies often provide the same $1,000,000 in liability protection that a homeowner’s policy does, and importantly, that the insurance is typically inexpensive. A renter’s policy that insurers about $20,000 in personal belongings from loss due to fire, theft, or for example water damage, also provides $1,000,000 in liability coverage, and often only costs about $25 per month.
Insurance is often not expensive. Having a little knowledge about what is available and what it covers is critical. There are many cases where people have been set back financially for years because they did not spend on insurance in a month what they spend on coffee in a week.
I hope you find this advice helpful. If you have any questions about this topic, or another legal matter, feel free to contact us for a free consultation. We may be contacted at email@example.com or via phone at 250-888-0002.