13 Mar 2024
Liability cover: the little-known benefit included in your home insurance

Liability cover: the little-known benefit included in your home insurance

  • Did you know home and contents policies include cover for legal liability?
  • This can cover you for things like a tree branch from your property damaging a neighbour’s car, if you have buildings cover
  • Landlord insurance could also cover legal liability – check your policy for inclusions

Along with protecting your home and possessions from damage and theft, your home and contents insurance also includes a type of cover called legal liability.

Legal liability protects you from liability if someone is accidentally injured on your property if you have buildings insurance, or if you or a family member accidentally injures someone outside your home if you have contents insurance.

It also provides protection if you or a family member is liable for loss or damage to another person’s property.

QBE’s home and contents insurance policies include legal liability coverage up to $30 million. Exclusions may vary so always read your Product Disclosure Statement (PDS) to check your cover.

Common liability claims

Common liability claims can include if you’re found liable for causing injury, such as a guest tripping and falling in your home, according to QBE National Householders Product Manager, Angelo Colosimo.

“Dog bites are another example of where legal liability may apply,” he says.

“If your dog bites another person and you’re found liable, the medical bills could be claimed as part of your contents insurance,” Colosimo says.

“If a tree branch has fallen from your backyard and damaged your neighbour’s cars, garage or the roof of their home and you’re found liable, the costs of this damage can be claimed on your home insurance.”

Every family member’s legal liability is automatically included in QBE’s home and contents cover, as long as they permanently live with you.

“Under our contents cover, liability protection also extends to accidental injury to others outside your home, whether in Australia or overseas, so if you accidentally injure a person on holidays and you’re found liable for those injuries, those associated costs may be covered,” Colosimo says.

Liability cover: the little-known benefit included in your home insurance

How liability works with tenants and landlords’ insurance

Landlords are responsible for the property they lease to tenants, which means they may be legally liable if a tenant is injured inside.

Tenants have a right to live in a safe property, so known issues and repairs should be carried out in a timely manner. If a landlord fails in their duty of care or responsibility to a tenant, they could be exposed to financial consequences.

Landlords must take reasonable care to prevent any loss, damage or injury, Colosimo says.

“Insurers may not cover you if a contributing factor to the incident was a failure on your behalf to take reasonable care.

“An example of where you may not be insured would be if the landlord had been notified that a balcony’s railing was loose, but the landlord didn’t take action and their tenant fell and injured themselves because the railing collapsed,” Colosimo says.

It’s therefore important for landlords to stay on top of maintenance, especially if a tenant’s safety is at risk, he says.

Liability insurance for landlords should be a consideration for landlords from the moment they buy a property.

“Landlords have a liability exposure as soon as they own a property, so it’s really important to consider the start date of your insurance policy, particularly when the property is on the market for inspection and agents begin to take potential tenants through the property,” Colosimo says.

On the flip side, liability insurance is crucial for tenants because they could be found liable for incidents in certain circumstances too.

Liability cover: the little-known benefit included in your home insurance

A tenant’s liability can be protected if they have renter’s insurance or contents insurance, because the policy includes legal liability.

“If a tenant leaves a candle burning when they leave their home and the apartment is set on fire, or if the sink is left running and it overflows into the neighbour’s place, the onus is on the tenant – not the landlord – to pay the damage,” explains Colosimo.

Why your legal liability may not be covered

There are some situations where exclusions will apply in relation to legal liability, which means you may not be covered if that event occurs, explains Colosimo.

A significant exclusion is that the incident which caused damage or injury must have been accidental. “We won’t cover a deliberate act by you, your family or another person who caused the incident that led to the damage,” Colosimo says.

In addition, if you cause damage to your own property or if you injure a person who lives with you, you may not be covered under legal liability.

“We also can’t cover liability claims that involve your trade or business, or liability claims that could be made under workers compensation. For example, if a tradesperson has an accident in your home on the job, this claim would fall under their workers compensation, not your personal liability,” Colosimo says.

This advice is general in nature and has been prepared without taking into account your objectives, financial situation or needs and may not be right for you. You must decide whether or not it is appropriate, in light of your own circumstances, to act on this advice. To decide if QBE’s products are right for you, please ensure you obtain and consider the Policy Wording or Product Disclosure Statements and Target Market Determinations, available online at QBE.com/au. Insurance issued and underwritten by QBE Insurance (Australia) Limited (ABN 78 003 191 035, AFSL 239545).

Home insurance and lifestyle articles

Liability cover: the little-known benefit included in your home insurance

13 Mar 2024

Did you know public liability is included in home insurance and landlord insurance? Learn about this valuable benefit.

Read article

Accidental damage insurance explained

11 Mar 2024

Rowdy guests and wobbly toddlers can lead to accidents in your home. That’s why it helps to be covered. See our guide to find out more.

Read article

What insurance do I need for my apartment?

07 Mar 2024

Whether you’re an owner or renter, there are several things to consider when it comes to insuring your possessions in an apartment.

Read article
Read further articles

Interested in QBE Home Insurance?