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What is Renters Liability Insurance?

Renters liability insurance provides financial protection if someone is injured while visiting your home or for any accidental property damage caused by you or a family member to others. It may also cover damage caused by your pets.

The liability portion of your renters insurance offers coverage when someone is injured on your property.

Renters Liability Insurance Has Got You Covered

When most people think about renters insurance, they tend to picture it as just a way to protect your possessions in case they're damaged or stolen (find out more on that in “Does Renters Insurance Cover Theft?”). However, a large percentage of claims filed by renters are actually due to an accidental injury, resulting in a personal insurance liability claim.

If someone is hurt while visiting your home, you could be held financially responsible if they decide to sue you, even if you don’t own the property. Don’t make the mistake of assuming it’s your landlord’s responsibility. If a visitor is hurt while in your rental unit, you are potentially liable for any injury they might suffer.

Personal liability insurance can help pay for your legal expenses, including…

  • Attorney fees.
  • Court costs.
  • Settlements or judgments.
  • Damages (e.g., the injured party’s medical expenses).

Liability insurance may also cover accidental property damage caused by you or a family member. Say your five-year-old son decides to get “creative” with his permanent markers on your friend’s laptop screen, or maybe you accidentally take out your neighbor’s mailbox while backing out of your driveway, your insurance company may help cover the damages.

Check out “What Does Renters Insurance Cover?” for more details.

Dog bites are the most common source of renters liability insurance claims.

Common Types of Injury Liability Claims

Accidents at home happen far more frequently than you might think. Unless you become a recluse à la Howard Hughes, you will likely have friends and family members visit you, and with those visits come the risk of someone having an accident. Even an uninvited guest, such as a salesperson or a political candidate going door to door, could sue you if they’re injured on your rental property.

The most common cause of liability claims are dog bites. Your renters liability insurance can help cover the cost of any damages caused by your pets in most cases. However, many insurance companies are reluctant to offer coverage for certain dog breeds that have a high number of claims attributed to them, which they’ve dubbed as “aggressive” breeds. They include…

  • Akita.
  • Bull Mastiff.
  • Chow Chow.
  • Doberman Pinscher.
  • German Shepherd.
  • Pit Bull.
  • Rottweiler.
  • Siberian Husky.
  • Wolf Hybrid.

You may still be able to receive liability coverage, but with an exclusion for your dog – meaning your insurance company will cover you and your family members, but won’t cover any damages your dog might inflict.

Slips, trips, and falls are another common source of liability claims, and might include…

  • A visitor slipping on your freshly waxed floor or tripping on the corner of a throw rug.
  • An overnight guest unfamiliar with your home taking a wrong turn during the night and tumbling down your stairs.
  • A neighbor stopping by to borrow a cup of sugar and hitting their head on your open cabinet door.

Another frequent cause of liability claims are intoxicated guests. If you throw a party and one of your guests becomes drunk, you could potentially be held liable for any damage they cause to another person or their property.

How Much Does Personal Liability Insurance Cost?

Renters liability and property insurance is bundled together, so the cost will depend on how much coverage you choose for both. “How Much Does Renters Insurance Cost?” covers some of the basics, and it also explains how endorsements and safety discounts can impact the cost of your coverage.

The liability limit for most renters insurance policies is typically $100,000, but you can always purchase additional coverage if you want it. Another option for expanded coverage is umbrella insurance, which can provide you with an additional $1 million in liability protection.