You know that your landlord requires you to maintain “personal liability insurance,” and that the easiest way to comply with that requirement is to buy a California Renters Insurance policy. But why is that requirement in place? What does liability coverage actually do for you?
The answer is, much more than you expect! Find out more below our Video Guide To California Renters Insurance.
What Is Liability Coverage On California Renters Insurance?
Liability coverage on your California renters insurance is a specific, and very broad, type of coverage. It’s designed to protect you by paying for an occurrence where you cause bodily injury or property damage. What does that mean in plain language?
An occurrence is an “accident, including continuous or repeated exposure to substantially the same general harmful conditions, which results, during the policy period, in bodily injury or property damage [to another person].” It’s something you didn’t intend. It can be a group of actions over time.
Property damage is “physical injury to, destruction of, or loss of use of tangible property.” Note that property damage can’t apply to intellectual property or other types of intangibles. Any time an occurrence caused by your negligence results in property damage suffered by someone else, your liability coverage may respond.
Bodily injury is “bodily harm, sickness, or disease” resulting from an occurrence. That’s intentionally broad, because there are a variety of different types of bodily injury that your liability coverage could respond to. We’ll touch on a few examples below.
In a nutshell, liability coverage is what pays for accidental damage or injury caused by your negligence to someone else who is not an insured under the policy. Why only to someone else who is not an insured? Liability is a third-party coverage. It’s designed to respond to losses suffered by people who are not a party to the policy.
What’s A Situation Where Liability Coverage Will Protect Me?
There are many different situations to which liability coverage could respond, but here are a few examples.
It’s your turn to host holiday dinner for the family. In the rush and excitement, you don’t cook the turkey long enough. As a result, Aunt Hilda gets food poisoning. Aunt Hilda is not an insured under the policy, because she’s not a member of your household, so the policy could pay for her medical care.
If a delivery company is delivering a package to you, and you’re so excited to receive it that you accidentally slam the delivery person’s hand in your door, liability coverage can respond to that. In your excitement, you were negligent by not making sure his hand was out of the door and he suffered bodily injury as a result.
When the aforementioned delivery driver’s workers comp coverage comes after you for the money they paid out, in a process called subrogation, liability can protect you by paying those costs. In addition, it can protect you by offering a defense against the workers comp carrier’s lawsuit against you to recover that money. Liability coverage comes with defense coverage, and claims can be defended even when they might not be paid.
If you’re at a PTA meeting at your kids’ school, and you spill your coffee on another parent, they’re going to be angry. Depending on the temperature of the coffee, they may also have bodily injury that ranges from minor to serious. When they look for someone to pay for their care, your renters insurance liability coverage can respond, offering both defense against the claim and payment of the claim if it comes to that.
These are just a few examples of situations where liability can protect you, your family, your assets, and your future. Speaking of your future, we haven’t even touched on the issue of liability and kids, let’s look at that next.
Does Liability Coverage On California Renters Insurance Protect My Kids?
Yes! Your liability coverage protects your kids in two ways. They’re automatically insured under the policy – minors can’t contract, so the policy is written to include them as insureds. If your teenager makes a bad decision and it’s actually negligent, they’re still covered by the policy.
On the other hand, what about your younger children? Young kids have a tendency not to realize the full consequences of their actions, and also tend to injure each other with alarming frequency. Because children under 13 are presumed not to be aware what their actions could result in, they’re treated differently under the policy.
Children under 13 are not subject to the “expected or intended” result clause of the policy. If you punch someone in the face, you expected and intended to hurt them – even if you didn’t intend to hurt them as badly as you did. There would be no coverage on California Renters Insurance for that for you as an adult.
A child under 13, however, doesn’t really have the ability to expect or intend the full consequences of an action like that. Therefore, liability coverage can still respond even when the act itself was intentional on the part of the child. This is valuable in that we live in an ever more litigious society and things that were dealt with quietly a few years ago now are likely to result in lawsuits.
When your liability coverage responds to any of these situations, you get the benefit of the coverage as well as the benefit of defense against the claim. You don’t have to pay the lawyer, because the insurance company knows most people can’t afford to. They also know that the only way to prevent frivolous lawsuits from ending up as paid claims is to offer that defense. It’s part of the policy, and a duty of the insurer.
Liability coverage is there to protect you from the sort of negligence that happens every day, and that results in lives being ruined by lawsuits and judgements. It’s a part of your renters insurance policy, and it’s something that will help you to sleep easier because you have it. The good news is that renters insurance in California is quite affordable!
The national average price of renters insurance is just $187.00, according to the III. That works out to as little as fifteen dollars per month. The vast majority of families can budget renters insurance easily at those prices.
Additionally, it's important to note that renters are at a significantly higher risk of experiencing loss than homeowners. Renters occupy roughly one third of total housing stock in the country, and yet they are fully fifty percent more likely to experience theft than homeowners, according to the Bureau of Justice Statistics.
It only costs a few dollars a month to protect your family, and this cheap renters insurance is a great way to mitigate the additional risks that come with being a renter.
Effective Coverage offers the nation's only completely mobile platform to quote and purchase renters insurance right from your phone or tablet in just one minute. Get an online renters insurance quote today and protect your family.
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