Personal Liability Coverage
In the context of renters insurance, personal liability coverage can help if you accidentally cause damage to someone’s property, or if someone is injured at your home (for instance, if they break a leg during a Friday night dance party).
What does personal liability insurance cover?
Your personal liability insurance will help cover legal or medical fees related to injuries or property damage or injury, depending on what happened.
Here’s what your personal liability insurance would likely cover:
- Injuries to others at your home: If you host a book club in your living room, and someone trips on the pile of junk in your hallway and hurts themselves—your coverage may kick in.
- Damage or injury to someone else or their property: This would apply if you went to someone else’s house and accidentally broke something valuable, or inadvertently caused someone to be injured.
- Legal fees: We like to thing our friends would never sue us, but it’s impossible to predict the future. If you face legal exposure in the aftermath of a covered incident, your renters insurance’s personal liability coverage would come in handy.
- Damage or injury caused by your pet: If your dog chews through a friend’s couch while visiting, your personal liability coverage may apply. And if your dog injures someone—like the Amazon delivery guy, or your Hinge date—it might as well (though there are exceptions here, especially if your dog has a history of biting, so read your policy carefully).
What personal liability insurance doesn’t cover
When you’re a renter, personal liability coverage only applies to certain things.
Your renters insurance would not cover:
- Intentional or malicious damage: Visiting your ex-girlfriend’s ex-boyfriend and decide to vandalize or destroy his property? Shockingly, this would not be covered.
- Damage caused by your car: If you crash your car or your vehicle causes damage of some sort, your renters insurance’s personal liability coverage would not apply. This is what car insurance is for.
- Business-related damage: If you run a business out of your home, and an accident happens that is related to that business, your personal liability insurance likely would not cover it.
- Your own injuries: If you or someone else listed on your policy is injured, your personal liability insurance would not cover it. This coverage only applies to other people who may be visiting your home.
How much personal liability coverage do I actually need?
For personal liability insurance, coverage will typically start at $100,000, which means your renters or homeowners insurance company will pay up to $100,000 in legal fees, medical expenses, or damages per liability claim.
While you’re able to increase this number, it would result in a slightly higher premium, and $100,000 of personal liability coverage is arguably sufficient for most people.
How much does personal liability coverage cost?
According to ValuePenguin.com, the average cost of renters insurance across the U.S. is around $18/month in 2023.
Your specific price will depend on where you live, as well as the specific limits you set for things like personal liability coverage.
Tenant liability insurance vs. renters insurance
Tenant liability insurance covers your liability for any damage you might do to your landlord’s property. For instance, if you accidentally ruin furniture or appliances owned by the landlord, or if something damages the physical structure of your rental home.
A tenant liability insurance policy won’t cover any damage to your personal property. For that, you’ll need a renters insurance policy.
|Coverage||Renters Insurance||Tenant Liability Insurance|
|Loss of Use||X|
|Damage to landlord’s property||X|
Real-world examples of personal liability insurance
It always helps to visualize concrete scenarios. Here are some situations in which your personal liability coverage as a renter would likely kick in:
- You’re hosting a house party and your klutzy friend trips and twists their ankle; later, your ex-pal decides to sue you
- You’re visiting a friend’s house and accidentally smash their expensive coffee table
- While bike riding, you collide with a pedestrian, who then incurs legal and medical bills
More reasons to get renters insurance
Remember that personal liability coverage is only one component of your renters insurance policy, which also covers things like damage to your personal property, and loss of use if you’re forced out of your home due to certain causes.
It’s a lot of protection for not a lot of money, and getting a quote only takes a few minutes. What are you waiting for?