Liability coverage explained: When stuff happens on (or off) your property

Don’t let the name fool you: home insurance can protect much more than your property. With liability coverage, for example, you might be surprised to find out just how far your coverage goes.

When you’re batting a thousand

Whether you’re out for some exercise or to socialize with your friends (or both), nothing’s more satisfying than the sound of your bat cracking a ball high into the air, past the outfield. But what if, in a perfect storm of lousy aim and excitement, you manage to hit your buddy and his $800 aviator sunglasses? Not only will you be buying the first post-game round, you’ll also be on the hook for replacing some pricey eyewear.

Well, not to worry. The liability portion of your homeowner’s policy will likely cover the damage you’ve caused, including the cost of the sunglasses and any medical expenses, too.

When you’re out of the country

Accidents happen, at home and abroad. Maybe your candlelit wedding proposal ended with fire damage to your hotel room, or the kids got a little too excited while swinging from an authentic Mexican piñata at the resort. If you’re held legally responsible for any property damages that take place beyond your own property, your home insurance can help pay for repairs or replacements. And as an added bonus, deductibles don’t apply to liability claims.

When you’re at fault, plain and simple

While it can be hard to think of every possible thing that could go wrong, do your best to look for avoidable risks around your home. Could someone fall down your rickety staircase? Might the family dog nip a little too enthusiastically at the mailman?

Take an inventory of potential hazards and take steps to prevent injuries to your guests. After all, you’re responsible for not only the maintenance of your property, but also the actions of your family, your pets, and yourself.

You should know, though, that if you or members of your household trip on those steps or get nipped by Rover, liability coverage doesn’t apply.

Protect your home and the things you love most.