Your dog biting a jogger, a friend falling down your stairs, or your kid hitting a cricket ball into the neighbour’s sliding door – all of these could amount to you being sued and held legally responsible for the bills.
Personal liability cover, which is part and parcel of home contents insurance, would help you to not end up out of pocket in situations like these.
What is personal liability cover?
Personal liability is when someone is held legally responsible for either causing bodily injury to someone or damage to their property. Personal liability cover protects you (financially) if a lawsuit or claim is brought against you for causing bodily injury or property damage – in and away from your home.
Here are a few scenarios where you might be held personally liable:
- Someone is injured on your property; or
- You accidentally damage someone else’s property, apartment or belongings; or
- You accidentally damage your rented property; or
- A person or pet that’s a part of your household accidentally injures another person or pet.
What exactly does personal liability cover?
Each claim differs and it depends on the circumstances and insurer but personal liability cover can help to pay for:
- Medical payments to others
- Property damage payments
- Damages caused to others by members of your household (including housekeepers, au pairs and gardeners)
- Damage caused to others by your pets
- Legal defence
Let’s put these benefits into real-life examples.
Examples of where personal liability cover would help
Your dog bites a child at the park
Let’s say you take Louis the lab for a walk at the park. He’s usually a very happy and gentle dog, but one day he’s just rubbed up the wrong way and bites the arm of a little boy, Jack. Jack’s parents decide to sue you for their medical bills. As part of your home contents insurance, personal liability cover will pay the medical bills as well as the lawyers’ fees if the case gets taken to court.
You accidentally leave a tap on in your rented apartment
Whilst on the phone to your sister, you accidentally forget to turn the bath tap off. You walk back inside to find that you’ve flooded your whole apartment and the downstairs neighbour’s apartment too. Not only does your neighbour sue you for the damage done to his property but your landlord also sues you for damage to the apartment’s fixtures.
Personal liability cover would pay your neighbour and your landlord for the damages caused. Without it, depending on the damages, you could be seriously out of pocket.
You accidentally trip another runner while on your morning run
On your morning run, you accidentally trip another runner who breaks her ankle. She sues you for all medical damages and loss of income as a result of his injury. Accidents like this can cost millions of rands, depending on the severity.
Personal liability cover would protect you in these instances – and it’s not only active if the accident happens at home, it covers you anywhere.
What isn’t covered by personal liability?
This depends on the specific circumstances of your claim and your insurer. But here are a few common examples of where personal liability won’t cover you:
- Injuries caused by someone who isn’t a part of your household
- Injury or property damage caused by business activities
- Personal injury to yourself or a member of your household
- Damage caused by your car (this is covered by third party liability on your car insurance)
- Anything as a result of illegal activities
- Any bodily injury or property damage done on purpose
How do I get personal liability cover and how much should I get?
With most insurers, personal liability cover is included in your building or home contents insurance. So when insuring your belongings, you are also covering yourself legally and financially for any possible claims made against you.
When first insuring your belongings you are generally asked how much personal liability coverage you want. It’s quite a hard question to answer as you have to picture yourself in the worst case scenario – a scenario that is also very rare. Something like a tree in your property falling on a R5-million Lamborghini – this might not be something you can afford to pay off for the rest of your life.
Instinct would tell you to go for the highest amount of cover that your insurer offers. But this might not always be affordable. The more cover you buy, the higher your premium will get. So you might want to think about what is the highest amount of cover you can comfortably afford to pay for each month.
At Naked our average policyholder goes for R5-million in personal liability cover – the minimum is R2-million and the max is R10-million. It sounds like a lot of money until something does go wrong and you are held liable. You can easily see how much your premium changes depending on what liability cover you want on our app.
If anything about personal liability cover sounds unclear, just pop us an email at email@example.com and one of our team members will help you out!
And if you’re on a quest to find out more about insurance, here’s the lowdown on contents insurance, cellphone insurance, and renters insurance.