Are All Lawsuits Covered By Homeowners Insurance?
If You Get Sued, Will Your Homeowners Insurance Cover You?
The answer is……..It depends on the type of lawsuit…..
You may be surprised to hear that your homeowners insurance policy will not cover you for every type of lawsuit. This article will go into a few examples of those lawsuits that may not be covered on the standard homeowners insurance policy.
It is common for neighbors to disagree. For example, you may think that your Chesapeake Bay Retriever barking at people passing by is an asset for keeping your home safer from intruders. However, your neighbor who enjoys peace and quiet would think your dog is a nuisance. Another neighbor may enjoy listening to his or her music at a loud volume, but others who live in the neighborhood will likely find it annoying.
Some situations may not be about noise. People who live in neighborhoods with a uniform appearance may hassle a new homeowner who decides to paint his or her house a bright shade of green. Whether the source of the problem is noise or something else, disagreements between neighbors can, and do, escalate into lawsuits. Before this happens to you , it is important to know what types of provisions your homeowners insurance policy provides for legal issues.
Many people think that a homeowners insurance policy covers all lawsuits filed against them. For this reason, people are usually not as careful as they should be about preventing them. For example, consider a new homeowner who moves into a subdivision, replaces the existing fence with higher boards and paints them contrasting colors. If the subdivision has rules about the permissible colors and acceptable maximum height of fences, they will try to get the new homeowner to comply. Homeowners who refuse may find themselves facing a lawsuit for violating the subdivision’s code. The courts will likely favor the subdivision’s rules, and a homeowners insurance policy will not provide coverage for the legal battle. Therefore, it is important to understand exactly what legal issues are covered under the policy.
Loud noises, eyesores and changes are all issues that do not physically harm another person. While they may be annoying, they are not issues that would be covered by a homeowners insurance policy if they escalate into a lawsuit. Always remember that a homeowners insurance policy offers protection for two types of liabilities, which are property damage and bodily injury, for example:
- The family dog bites a visitor (But check your policy to make sure your breed of dog is not excluded from coverage)
- A guest trips and falls over a loose step riser
- Your kid hits a baseball through a neighbors window
- Your drive on the 5th hole down at the golf course goes off track and hits another golfer, causing injury
- You have a dead tree on your property, and a limb falls and damages your neighbor’s car
Since coverage is limited to two types of physical damage, it is important to work as hard as possible to settle disputes with neighbors which do not involve bodily injury or property damage. For example, if neighbors complain about a barking dog, it may be best to enroll the dog in training or purchase a no-bark citronella collar. Trim overgrown shrubs or trees that neighbors may complain about. Many people get angry and frustrated when a neighbor makes accusations or complains. Anger is usually what causes people to be stubborn and refuse to compromise. Always listen to what neighbors have to say, and try to understand the situation from their perspective. Use common sense to arrive at a solution that is favorable to both parties. However, the best way to avoid anger and confrontation is to fix possible nuisances before neighbors complain. For additional information about avoiding problems and lawsuits with neighbors, discuss the issues with your Trusted Choice Independent Agent at Huff Insurance.