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Liability Coverage

One important part of the basic homeowner's policy is coverage for personal liability. This part of the policy covers you and your family if someone is injured or their property is damaged due to your negligence.

A key distinction is whether the mishap was due to negligence or intentional misconduct. For example, if your guest fell because a handrail was broken which you had known about but failed to repair, the insurance company may be responsible for her medical bills and any legal fees if she decides to file a lawsuit. If she fell because you pushed her, that is intentional misconduct and your liability coverage won't apply.

The basic homeowner's policy normally includes about $100,000 of liability coverage. However, increments of $300,000 or even higher are not uncommon.

If your have considerable assets or if some aspect of your life such as a teenager or a watchdog exposes you to additional risk, you may want to consider supplementing your coverage with an "umbrella" policy, which is discussed in a separate article in this section.

© 2004 Emerald Publications