My son broke a neighbor’s window. Will my renters insurance pay for the damages?
UPDATED: Sep 6, 2015
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Asked September 6, 2015
One of the primary purposes of a homeowner's insurance policy is to cover you for liability claims and their consequences. This includes injuries to someone on or off your property but damaged by the covered property, such as a tree falling on the garage next door, or your child hitting her first home through a neighbor's bay window. The only major exception to this is when the damages are caused intentionally, in which case the claim would be denied because it does not include wanton and malicious activities on the part of the insured.
Even if your neighbor takes you to court and wins, your homeowners policy is there to protect you, covering the cost of representation and any damages which may be rewarded, up to the limits defined in your policy. If the damages go beyond your homeowner's limits, you would be well served to have an umbrella liability policy, a very inexpensive type of excess liability coverage which works across any liability insurance policies you own.
Read your policy carefully to familiarize yourself with any clauses, exceptions or limitations it may contain. If there are parts of the policy you do not understand, the insurance company will be happy to explain them to you in full detail. For insurers, the better you understand your policy and how it works, the better you will be at using the coverage as it is intended, which equates to your own financial benefit in the long run.
Get estimates on the cost of the repairs before you file an insurance claim. If the damages are not much higher than your deductible, it is almost always better to pay for the repairs out of pocket. Similarly, if you have filed multiple liability or casualty claims over the past 7 years, filing additional claims could potentially cause all of your liability policies to increase, not just your home insurance.
Answered September 9, 2015 by Anonymous