Does my home insurance company protect me if I get sued?
UPDATED: Apr 15, 2013
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Asked April 15, 2013
One of the purposes of homeowners insurance is to serve as a buffer between the home owner and those who file claims against the home. Without homeowners insurance, anyone with a legitimate claim against you can seek restitution, and failing to receive money, can go after your property. Homeowners insurance protects you against this by paying for legal representation if such a claim is filed.
Home insurance has several purposes, including protecting your investment in your home and the other structures on the property, covering your personal property, and coming to your aid in the event someone files a claim against your home. This coverage is part of the standard liability insurance, which covers such things as someone getting injured on or by your property, damages caused to someone else or their property by your property, and repairing the damages to your own property.
For example, if a tree on your property falls onto a neighbor's property, damaging his wash shed. Your home insurance would pay for the tree's removal and the repair of your neighbor's structures. If that same tree fell on their house and caused injuries, the insurance would cover the injuries and damages. If your neighbor decides to take the matter to court, then your home insurance would pay for any attorney fees or court settlements.
It is important to remember that even though the attorney is selected and paid for by the insurance company, his job is to represent you. For that reason, you will need to work closely with the attorney that is appointed to your case. When the case is settled, the insurance company will pay for the lawyer and any costs that the court judges are your responsibility. On the other hand, if you are found culpable for damages or injuries that are outside of your insurance coverage, the lawyer's costs will be paid but you will be responsible for paying the non-costs out of pocket.
The appointed lawyer is not obligated to represent you for other claims or your own counter-claims. His sole obligation is to serve your interests where the homeowner's policy is concerned. He does not pursue collections against the other party, file additional suits, or fill the role of a personal lawyer in any way. For specific questions, speak with your local insurance agent.
Answered April 15, 2013 by Anonymous