Your home can be a liability if you aren’t careful, and sometimes even if you are. The top five liabilities seem like common sense, but are often overlooked by homeowners who don’t have enough liability insurance. Liability insurance for your automobile is imperative, but people often overlook it for their homes.
The biggest liability you can have is a swimming pool. Everyone has read about neighborhood children drowning in a pool, but the unwritten story behind that is the neighbor who sues for the death. Here are some ways to protect yourself from liability if you do have a swimming pool.
Build a fence, and keep your gate locked. This will keep un-invited swimmers out, and reduce your liability if there is an accident.
Make sure everyone who is visiting can swim. This seems like a no-brainer, but it is a rule that, if enforced, can save heartache and headache.
Post the depths of the pool so would-be divers know where the bottom is. A broken neck is a great short-cut to a lawsuit.
Don’t drink and swim. Alcohol impairs judgment, and makes for a dangerous situation.
Always have adult supervision for swimming kids. Even teens need adult supervision.
No glass around the pool. If refreshments are served, make sure they’re in plastic.
Having workers around your home can be a liability as well, especially if they are not licensed and insured. When contractors get licensed, they must take tests and learn about safety before they can work, and have to be safety-aware to get liability insurance. If they are insured and they hurt themselves, they are covered by their insurance. If your neighbor’s cousin who’s helping with your gutters falls off a ladder, he can (and often will) sue. Collect copies of the license and insurance when you hire a contractor, even for a small project.
Parties or gatherings at your home in which you serve alcohol could put you at risk for suit as well. People can not only hurt themselves on your property (from a twisted ankle to a superman-style roof leap into your rosebushes), but also you can be liable if they drive away from your home after drinking and cause injury or damage. Be very careful when serving guests alcohol, and offer guest rooms up to people who’ve been drinking a bit too much. .
Broken sidewalks or steps can cause injury to someone walking by. From a jogger to the postman, there are uncountable people who walk past your house every day who can be injured by a crack in your driveway or rickety stairs or a loose board in the deck. Keep up home repairs to protect guests and passers-by from harm and yourself from liability.
Trees can also be a cause of injury and therefore, lawsuit. Kids climbing your trees, passers-by tripping over roots, and branches falling on neighbors’ cars and fences can all be cause for lawsuit. Keep your trees trimmed and neat.