Does My Home Insurance Cover Accidents in the Home?
Caeva O'Callaghan | June 30th, 2020
If someone in your family or a visitor injures themselves on your property, it pays to know the facts before insurance is involved.
It’s not just the thought of a friend or loved one getting hurt that makes home accidents so worrying. All-too-common “personal injury” ads make it seem like household visits often end in dramatic claims or vast compensation.
Luckily, this is rarely the case. But it pays to know what happens when someone injures themselves on your property. If you have the right cover, your home insurance can help.
In this article, we’ll answer questions like:
- Am I covered if someone hurts themselves on my property?
- Will my home insurance cover me if I have an accident?
- What is personal accident cover?
Read on to discover when you might need this type of insurance, and what risks it protects against.
Accidents in the home
Domestic accidents are very common, and can be very serious. You don’t necessarily need to be taking part in a dangerous activity to be at risk of injury in your or someone else’s house. Fire, floods and other disasters, poisoning and drowning can readily occur in the home. More common ways to hurt yourself including slipping in the bathroom, falling down the stairs, or spraining your ankle on a broken step.
It just takes one unfortunate turn of events to permanently affect the quality of life. Anyone can be at risk, and as you and your family are home more often it stands to reason you are the ones most likely to suffer an accident. However, if a visitor, friend or family member, tradesman or member of the public injures themselves on your property, you will be liable.
A word about break-ins: “members of the public” can, of course, include people who intend harm upon your property. In 2012, a burglar successfully sued his victim for €175,000 after he chased him off his property.
(The success of the claim rests on the definition of the word “accident”. The homeowner chased the burglar off his premises by running him down in his Mercedes, causing damage to both of his legs. This amounted to reckless endangerment and using a car as a weapon, which outweighed the burglar’s misdemeanours.)
In short, malicious intent does not count as an “accident”. But even if the injury was purely accidental, you will be liable unless you have personal accident cover.
Am I liable for accidents on my property?
Yes, you are. When someone visits your property, it’s your responsibility to keep them from harm. Insurance providers understand that accidents are a normal part of living. Therefore, a claimant cannot always hold a property owner responsible. Nor is the owner automatically liable for someone tripping over something anyone with common sense would expect to see there, or which is easy to avoid. We all have an obligation to keep an eye out.
However, as in most situations involving home insurance, maintenance is key. Property owners are responsible for keeping their property to a safe standard. Insurance claims depend on whether the property owner made an effort to ensure accidents weren’t likely to happen, and whether the claimant was careless.
Most people are reasonably understanding, and live by the saying “accidents happen”. For those who worry, there’s personal accident cover – however, it isn’t exactly comprehensive.
Personal accident cover
Adding personal accident cover to your policy will cost €25 extra. Having it seems like a good idea, but in reality it doesn’t cover all that much, which is reflected in the price.
For example, Axa’s personal accident cover only covers you, your partner and your children. Not only that, but it only covers death, loss of a limb or an eye or permanent total disability. These are (luckily) the rarest and most devastating injuries, but lesser ones can also greatly impact quality of life which won’t be covered.
The maximum Axa will pay out for any one claim is €65,000. This seems like a decent amount of money, until you weigh up the impact of living with the potential long-term side effects of such an injury for the rest of your life.
In short, personal accident cover is probably not worth considering, but may give you extra peace of mind.
If you are unsure of what level of cover you have for personal accidents in your home, call us today
If you have any questions of the level of cover your home insurance provides for accidents and injuries for visitors to your home, you can pick up the phone and talk to us any weekday between 8.30am and 5.30pm on 0818 224433 or 042 9359051. All our agents are trained experts and can help you with all your house insurance questions.
If your home policy is up for renewal you can get an instant home insurance quote using our quote engine on QuoteMe.ie. We compare insurance from 12 of the Ireland’s leading providers to help find you the right cover for your specific needs. We look forward to hearing from you.