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Homeowner Insurance

Posted by attorney William Umansky

Generally a typical homeowner’s insurance liability policy will cover the homeowner for losses if the insured property is damaged from a fire or a hurricane. Typically, if your home is burglarized and personal possessions are stolen a homeowner’s policy will cover the loss of any deductibles.

If you own a pet such as a dog or a cat, make sure your homeowner’s policy covers you for any injuries your animal may cause any visitors to your home such as friends, pizza delivery persons, mailmen or guests. Increasingly the homeowner’s insurance carrier’s policies are excluding coverage for losses caused by an animal in your household such as a dog or cat. These provisions are called animal exclusion clauses under the liability portion of your homeowner’s insurance policy. However, you have to knowingly reject this coverage by signing your name to a provision that is called a waiver. A waiver will typically state as follows: "I hereby understand that this policy does not cover any losses caused by any animal on my premises." If you sign this waiver and subsequently someone is injured by your animal at your home then your homeowners insurance company can legally deny you any coverage against any claims made by the injured person. The homeowner’s insurance company can also legally refuse to defend against any claims filed against you if a lawsuit is filed. Thus you would be personally responsible for paying any such claim which may include medical expenses, wage loss, scarring and pain and suffering damages of the injured person. If the injured person sues you, then you would have to hire and pay for an attorney out of your pocket to defend you against the lawsuit.

If your homeowner’s insurance company tries to get you to sign an animal liability waiver you need to decline and, if necessary, shop around for another homeowner’s insurance company that will provide this valuable coverage.

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