Skinned knees and homeowners insurance

In another glaring instance of my lack of balance and grace, I fell UP the front steps of a friend’s house over the weekend. It was all of two steps, and somehow my sneaker-clad feet tripped up on the first step, causing me to fall forward and land on my left knee. Both heels of my hands took the brunt of the fall without major damage, but my left knee was not so lucky. I skinned it pretty good, also bruising the top somehow. Some peroxide and a big bandage later, I joined the party I was there to attend. Unfortunately, my favorite jeans were not so lucky — there’s a nice, wide rip in the knee.

While I was fine with nothing more than a little-bit bloody scrape (like I would have gotten as a 10-year-old falling off my bike), the scenario brings to mind the importance of homeowners insurance. What if a visitor fell down the stars and broke a leg, or worse, their neck or back? Legally, they can sue you to cover their medical bills and for pain and suffering. Would your insurance cover any such liabilities?

In this litigious age, it’s more important than ever to have homeowners insurance with a personal liability clause to cover incidences where someone gets injured on your property. But is the $100,000 or $300,000 coverage enough? Choose as high of a limit as you can afford — sometimes, the difference between $100K and $200K is only $15-$20 more annually.

You can also purchase an umbrella policy. Think of it as extra insurance — that’s what it is! It goes above and beyond your homeowners insurance’s personal liability coverage to help cover any loopholes. Insurable amounts can be in the millions. Consider your assets and total worth, and go from there.

For example: Someone slips and falls in front of your property on an icy day. They sue you, and you’re ordered by the court to pay $500,000 in damages, but your homeowners insurance only covers $200,000 of the judgment. Who’s stuck with the other $300,000? You! That’s where an umbrella policy comes in. With a higher amount of coverage, it would then pick up the other $300,000.

Of course, no one wants to be in that type of position, but it’s better to be safe than sorry!

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