Medical Payments to Others vs. Personal Liability Coverage

A guest slips while coming down your stairs and sprains his ankle. Or, maybe a guest bumps her head on an open cabinet door and the cut requires stitches.

Undoubtedly, you do your best to keep your home hazard-free. Yet, accidents can happen. This is where homeowners insurance  comes in! Many homeowners insurance policies have two elements that kick in when something happens to a visitor to your home: personal liability coverage  and medical payments to others coverage. (Note: Neither coverage applies when someone who lives in your home is injured.)

Medical Payment to Others

Medical payments to others coverage applies to the costs associated with injuries that happen to guests at your home, regardless of who is at fault. For example, if a guest sprains his ankle on your stairs and has a hospital bill to pay. Medical payments to others coverage provides guest medical protection and will reimburse the injured individual.

Generally, this guest medical protection coverage has a relatively low limit. The choices vary by state and by insurance company, but typically the limit is between $1,000 and $5,000. Pain and suffering and property damage are not covered by medical payments to others coverage.

Personal Liability Coverage

While homeowners insurance medical payments to others coverage has a fairly low limit, personal liability coverage will generally have a much higher limit. Most companies offer limits such as $100,000, $300,000 or $500,000.

The limit choices are higher because your homeowners personal liability coverage is designed to help protect you against the costs associated with bodily injury and property damage for which you are found legally liable for causing to others.

This element of your policy can cover hospital expenses, as well as costs related to loss of work, rehabilitation and more. Damage to property may also be covered.

Personal liability coverage vs. medical payments to others: which is right for you?

Help Ensure Your Guests are Protected in Your Home

If an accident of any kind happens in your home, take pictures to document the conditions. This can be helpful if there is confusion over what happened or if a stranger makes a claim against you that you know not to be true. For example, if someone claims to have slipped on an icy sidewalk outside your property, but you can provide a photograph showing it was dry, that would help your case.

To recap, medical payments to others applies to injuries that happen to guests in your home — regardless of who is at fault — and it has a lower limit. Personal liability coverage applies only in cases where you are found legally responsible for the loss, the coverage is broader and the limits are much more substantial.

If you have additional questions about the differences between medical payments to others coverage and personal liability coverage in your homeowners policy, contact your insurance company today.