The Lowdown on Personal Liability Cover

How it works, what it covers, and how to file a claim with Lemonade.

Team LemonadeTeam Lemonade

Could a spilled cocktail cost you £9,000?

If your friend slips and falls because of your spillage, it just might. That’s because you might be responsible, or liable for their compensation costs in the form of hospital fees, lost wages, as well as for the pain and suffering resulting from their injury.

But one spill doesn’t have to cost a few month’s wages if you have personal liability cover. As part of your contents insurance, personal liability cover could help pay for these expenses, so you don’t have to foot the whole bill.

We’re here to answer all of your burning liability cover questions, including:

What is personal liability cover?

Personal liability cover can help reimburse you if you (or anyone listed on your policy):

1. Accidentally injures someone
2. Damages property

Here are some common scenarios where liability cover could kick in:


  • You invite your book club over for a wine and cheese night and someone trips over the foot stool. It’s technically your fault since you didn’t clean up the mess of middle of the study
  • Your partner listed on your policy accidentally smashes into someone on their bike and they sue for costly medical bills

Property damage

  • You pull out your dance moves on New Year and accidentally knock over your friend’s faberge egg
  • You get too tipsy at Christmas and set fire to your rental kitchen while pulling some dodgy firecrackers 
  • You trip over the dog while holding your morning cuppa, and you leave a huge stain on your landlord’s furniture.

In fact, damage to other people’s stuff are the most common liability claims at Lemonade. 

Accidental damages to someone else’s stuff like bumping someone else’s bike with your own bike are some of the most common liability claims we see at Lemonade

Stefanie Lorenzini, Claims Experience Advocate at Lemonade

But that doesn’t mean every scenario like this is 100% covered. Like a snowflake, no one claim is the same as the next.

Don’t bother with the superglue

What does personal liability cover?

  • The cost to replace or repair property you damaged
  • Accidental damages to others, caused by you or others on your policy
  • Damages caused to others by your pets
  • Medical costs if you’ve injured someone else
  • Accidental damage to your rented home 
  • Legal expenses

Wait, why would someone need legal expenses?

Let’s say your dog bites your neighbour Sam. If you don’t give Sam your insurance info (either because you’re uncomfortable doing so, or don’t have the chance to), he might hire a lawyer to send you a letter, letting you know that Sam is pursuing the claim, and will take you to court if you don’t provide your insurance info within 30 days.

If this happens, here’s how to protect yourself:

Provide your insurance company with the lawyer’s info, so your insurer can reach out to them on your behalf.

File a personal liability claim, and send Sam your claim number and your adjuster’s contact info.

Now let’s say Sam is annoyed about the dog bite and tries to get back at you by throwing rubbish in your front garden every morning. If you have the Legal Protection add-on, you’ll also be able to pursue a case against Sam if it becomes a legal dispute. 

What does personal liability not cover?

While personal liability cover offers a host of protections, there are quite a few things that aren’t covered.

One of the biggest sources of confusion is whether personal liability cover includes damages to your flat or building’s structure. Unless you own your own home and have some building insurance, your flat’s actual structure isn’t covered.

What else isn’t covered by liability cover? You would likely not be covered if:

  • You intentionally cause damage to someone’s stuff or place
  • Your car damages someone’s stuff or place (that’s what car insurance is for)
  • You run a business out of your home, and someone or something is damaged as a result (get some self-employed public liability insurance for that) 
  • Property that is rented or loaned to you is damaged
  • Damage caused to your rented property by your pets

When is damage caused by my pets covered?

If your pet bites a fellow animal or human, or damages someone else’s property, your personal liability cover could kick in. Keep in mind if your pet damages your stuff, you’re not covered.

Down Fido!

Some policies don’t cover your dog at all. If your dog has a history of biting, or is categorised as high-risk, your liability cover may not cover them.

What is Legal Protection Cover?

Getting a certain amount of personal liability cover on your base policy can cover you if you cause damage to someone else or their property. If you want even more cover, consider the Legal Protection add-on, which gives you an added layer of protection if you want to pursue a claim. 

For instance, this cover can provide legal protection in case of disputes related to:

  • Personal injury (e.g. you trip at work or at a shop, or you get food poisoning from a meal at a restaurant) 
  • Your home (e.g. noisy neighbours, or a dispute with your landlord over your tenancy agreement) 
  • Your employment (e.g. unpaid wages or discrimination at work) 
  • Consumer agreements (e.g. a retailer delivers faulty goods and clinical negligence causing you injury (e.g. surgery which has not been carried out correctly) 

Do I need personal liability cover at work?

If you are an employee for a company, your employer should have public liability insurance, which will cover any damage caused by an employee while at work.

If you are self-employed though, you should consider taking out some self-employed public liability insurance to cover you while you’re on the job. 

BTW, if you have the Legal Protection cover, you’re also entitled to cover for work disagreements like unpaid wages or discrimination in the workplace.

How does personal liability cover work?

Personal liability coverage is included in your basic contents insurance policy, alongside cover for:

  • Your stuff (contents) 
  • Additional living expenses (temp accommodation) 

When you get a policy, you can choose how much cover you’d like. You’ll need to ask yourself: How much damage could I pay out-of-pocket in the worst-case scenario? How much will I need my insurance company to cover?

What is tenants liability cover?

Under your base policy, you get cover (up to £10,000 per event) for damage you accidentally cause to your rented home (what a relief, eh?). This is also known as tenants liability cover, and it can include any fixes to installations (e.g. sinks, floors, walls), furnishings, fixed glass items (e.g. stovetops, mirrors, windows), and damage to any impacted neighbours or other third parties.

We don’t, however, cover damage to your rented home caused by your pet, wear and tear, or that has developed gradually. We also don’t cover cosmetic damages (like flaking, or cracks), curved glass (e.g. wine glasses, lenses, light bulbs), verandas, or solar panels. 

How much personal liability cover do I need?

Personal liability cover usually starts at £1M, which means your insurer will pay up to £1M for the covered losses you’re responsible for. That may seem like a high number, but when you consider the cost of an accidental loss of life or serious injury on your property, it starts to look quite a bit smaller.

How do I file a personal liability claim?

First thing’s first: If something happens that might involve your personal liability cover, file a claim right away whether you’re the person who caused the damage or not. “Try to collect the contact info from all of the involved parties and get photos of the damage as early as you can,” says Mike A., a Claims Experience Advocate at Lemonade.

That way, your insurance company can gather info on the incident as early as possible. ‘It’s important for us to get statements from everyone while it’s fresh in their minds, and facts and photos of the initial damage don’t change’.

To file a claim with Lemonade, follow these steps:

1. Open the Lemonade App on your phone. If you don’t have it, download it and sign in with the email you used when getting your Lemonade policy.

2. Hit the Claim button in the top right-hand corner.

3. Meet our claims expert, AI Jim. He’ll verify your contact info, and ask for more details about what happened.

4. Digitally sign a Pledge of Honour to verify everything you tell us about your claim is truthful and honest.

5. Explain exactly what happened in a short video recording. Pretend you’re talking to a friend, and let us know the details, such as when and where the incident happened.

6. Provide the contact info of the other party involved, as well as any other photos or records of the damage.

7. Check to make sure all of the information is accurate in the full summary of the information you provided.

When you file a personal liability claim, there’s a chance your insurance company will need to communicate with the other party involved or their insurer. This could happen if you need funds right away to repair damage caused by another party.

For example, if your neighbour causes fire damage to your flat and stuff, and you can’t wait for their insurer to evaluate the claim and pay you back, you can file a claim with your insurance company asking for funds to fix the damage. In this case, your insurance company will contact your neighbour’s insurer for reimbursement.

Another instance would be if two people are liable for the same claim. For example, if your friend walks your dog, and your dog bites someone, both you and your friend will be liable. Therefore, both of your insurance companies would need to communicate with each other to sort out the claim.

Anything else I need to know?

That about covers it! (pun intended).

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Please note: Lemonade articles and other editorial content are meant for educational purposes only, and should not be relied upon instead of professional legal, insurance or financial advice. The content of these educational articles does not alter the terms, conditions, exclusions, or limitations of policies issued by Lemonade, which differ according to your state of residence. While we regularly review previously published content to ensure it is accurate and up-to-date, there may be instances in which legal conditions or policy details have changed since publication. Any hypothetical examples used in Lemonade editorial content are purely expositional. Hypothetical examples do not alter or bind Lemonade to any application of your insurance policy to the particular facts and circumstances of any actual claim.