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What is civil liability insurance?

Presented by DPJL Agency

Did you inadvertently set fire to your rented cottage while cooking? Did your child break the neighbour's window while playing baseball in the street? Civil liability insurance could be extremely helpful in protecting you in these types of situations. For peace of mind, here’s a quick rundown on this kind of coverage.

First of all, home insurance policies automatically include liability coverage, whether you’re a tenant, a homeowner or a condo owner. This coverage applies to everyone living under your roof against lawsuits or claims if ever you or they unintentionally hurt someone or damage or destroy their property. If you’re sued for damages covered by your policy, your insurer will also have to defend you at their expense.

However, the type of coverage you need may vary depending on your circumstances. Here are a few helpful examples.

Do you operate a home-based business?

What happens if a customer or client is injured while meeting you in your home or you’re sued by someone who was harmed by a product you sold them? Your home insurance’s civil liability provisions only covers your personal activities. You need additional coverage for your business or professional activities.  

Do you drive in the United States?

If you’re injured in a car accident south of the border, the Société de l'assurance automobile du Québec will compensate you. Unfortunately, this is not the case for the passengers in the other vehicle if they’re not from Quebec. However, any property damage or bodily injury they suffer is only covered by the civil liability coverage included in your car insurance. So, make sure you’ve got that.

What about your swimming pool?

Damage caused to others or to their property (for example, if your swimming pool leaks and floods the neighbour's property!) is normally covered by the civil liability portion of your home insurance. However, you should have a separate endorsement to protect your pool, water heater or hot tub because your basic policy doesn’t cover damage to those items. 

What about your dog?

Did your dog bite a neighbour, dig up their flower beds or attack their cat? Your home insurance normally covers this type of damage. However, you must notify your insurance representative that you own a pet. Also, if you didn’t take reasonable precautions to prevent your pet from attacking someone, you could be charged with criminal negligence. In this case, your insurance claim would be denied. 

Do you travel outside the country?

Your liability coverage follows you everywhere, even when you travel! So, if you injure someone while skiing down a mountain in the Swiss Alps, you’ll still be protected. However, make sure that the amount you are covered for is adequate. While policies usually cover up to $1 million in damage, it is generally recommended that you insure yourself for $2 million to cover all eventualities.

Do you volunteer?

Your home insurance automatically protects you to some extent against lawsuits and claims when you’re volunteering. However, since some claims can be substantial, it’s best to make sure you’re adequately protected.

Do you own an income property?

Building owners are protected by their homeowner’s insurance for civil liability. However, in the case of non-owner-occupied income properties, it’s advisable to increase the insurance coverage because absentee owners can’t be expected to watch out for the slightest sign of wear and tear (a wobbly step, for example) or to check that the stairs are not icy.

Need additional protection?

In situations where basic insurance is not enough, it’s advisable to purchase additional insurance to increase your liability coverage to $5 million.

Check with your insurance representative to make sure you’re adequately protected. They’ll suggest the ideal coverage for your peace of mind at all times.

This website provides general information only. Your insurance policy contract takes precedence at all times.

At DPJL, we can give you sound advice on the best coverage for your needs. Trust us to find the best protection for you! 

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