If anyone falls on my property, is homeowner’s insurance liable?

On Behalf of | Apr 24, 2024 | Premises Liability

In Montana, when someone sustains an injury on another person’s property, questions often arise regarding liability. Homeowner’s insurance can indeed be a crucial factor in these situations. Understanding the nuances of when homeowner’s insurance might be responsible and when it might not be is essential for both property owners and visitors alike in our state.

Basics of homeowner’s insurance

Homeowner’s insurance typically includes premises liability coverage in Montana. This coverage serves to protect homeowners against claims for bodily injury or property damage occurring on their premises. Essentially, it is designed to offer financial protection in instances like slip-and-fall accidents or other falls on the residential property.

When insurance is likely responsible

Generally, liability coverage becomes applicable when the homeowner is found negligent. For example, if a homeowner neglects to clear ice from their sidewalk, which results in a slip-and-fall incident, their homeowner’s insurance may cover the resulting medical expenses and other damages up to the insurance policy’s limits.

Instances where insurance might not apply

However, there are scenarios where homeowner’s insurance may not provide coverage. If the incident is deemed an “act of God,” like a natural disaster, or if the injured party was trespassing or involved in illegal activity, the homeowner’s insurance might not be liable. Additionally, intentional acts of harm by the homeowner are typically excluded from coverage, but these may be covered by other insurance, like an umbrella policy.

Understanding policy exclusions

Be aware of the exclusions within each of your insurance policies. These are specific situations where coverage does not apply. Common exclusions may include injuries caused by certain dog breeds or accidents involving trampolines. Policyholders should thoroughly review their insurance policy documents to understand these exclusions fully.

The role of negligence

In Montana, determining liability often hinges on the concept of negligence. Property owners who knew or should have known about hazardous conditions, but failed to address them, could be considered negligent. For homeowner’s insurance to be implicated, this negligence must contribute to the injury.

While homeowner’s insurance can provide vital coverage for residents of Missoula, Montana, it is important to recognize that it is not a blanket solution. The specifics of the policy, the circumstances of the accident and the presence of negligence all influence liability. Both property owners and visitors should familiarize themselves with these factors to navigate insurance liability effectively.

FindLaw Network