Home and contents insurance is one of the staple insurance products that most Australians have. It protects your home and most of what’s in it from all kinds of unforeseen damage such as weather damage, burglary, vandalism and much more. Everyone knows that home and contents policies cover you for damage to possessions – but what about damage to people?
Picture the scene: You’re hosting a party at your house, and everyone is talking, laughing and having a good time. Then, without warning, a guest trips while climbing your old wooden stairs and suffers broken bones from the resulting fall. If somebody suffers an accidental injury while on your property, you could potentially be found legally liable.
It may be a family member, friend, colleague or tradesperson, but if you’re found to be at fault for someone’s illness or injury you could be left paying a significant amount of money in damages. In order to prevent yourself from being charged huge costs in the event of an accident, it’s important to be insured for legal liability. So does home and contents insurance cover your liability for personal injury?
For most liability cases, you will be covered by your home and contents insurance. Policies in Australia typically include a large amount of legal liability cover, which often ranges from $10 million to $20 million depending on your level of policy. This liability cover insures you for any illness, injury or death that is suffered by somebody on your property (who doesn’t reside there), as well as any loss of or damage to their property.
Your level of included liability cover is typically more than enough. Many contents policies cover you not just for accidents at your own property, but also for ones which occur anywhere in Australia (and sometimes New Zealand or worldwide depending on the insurer), so long as you live in Australia. You might be playing tennis on holidays when a stray shot accidentally breaks your opponent’s nose, and your insurer would still cover you for any costs.
Some insurers, such as Allianz, also offer optional cover for domestic workers compensation – this covers you if somebody is injured while working for you on your property, and is only available in some states. While many tradespeople and subcontractors will have their own insurance – whether personally or through their employer – it could still be a good idea to take out this cover if your home is undergoing renovations or repairs.
What am I not covered for?
Your home insurance policy will be fairly comprehensive, but there are some major situations for which it doesn’t cover your legal liability. Some of these situations might be:
- Claims involving your business or trade
- Liability under your rental or lease agreement
- Damage to your property
- Injury or property damage to any people who normally live with you
While these situations are excluded by most insurers, each company has a different set of inclusions and exclusions that depends entirely on the policy. Always make sure you consult the PDS for your chosen policy and ensure you know exactly what you’re covered for!