Spring is just around the corner, which means walkways, stairs and sidewalks may be wet and icy (especially in the morning). So what happens if a courier were to slip and injure themselves on your stairs? As a homeowner, you will most likely be held liable for any slips, trips or falls that happen on your property – even if you’re just renting. It’s important you know what hazards to look out for and to understand what to do in the event someone is injured on your property. There are two ways to protect yourself. One is to make sure your home insurance policy includes liability coverage, and the second way is to take proactive steps to keep your home and surrounding property safer. Read on as Capital Insurance discusses both of these options.
Under Canadian Law, homeowners are expected to uphold a reasonable standard of care for their home. Failure to keep your property free of hazards, or failure to inform guests of potential hazards can result in you being held liable for any accidents that occur. The best way to avoid a liability claim is to prevent accidents from happening in the first place. Keeping up with regular maintenance is one of the most effective ways to defend yourself against a claim or lawsuit.
Legal Responsibility as a Tenant
As a tenant, liability may be shared with your landlord. To determine who is liable, the following criteria are considered:
- Was the danger foreseeable?
- How long did the danger exist?
- How easily could the danger have been prevented?
- Was the homeowner’s conduct in accordance with acceptable standards of practice?
To avoid any potentially costly claims, make sure you are aware of your responsibilities when it comes to the space you are renting (ex. shoveling, lawn mowing), and make sure these responsibilities are listed in your lease agreement.
A Proper Home Insurance Policy Can Help
Tenant or homeowner, you should always consider adding legal liability coverage to your home insurance policy. This type of coverage will insure you against any damages that occur if you fail to maintain a reasonable level of care for your home. If someone is injured on your property, the resulting claim can be time consuming and expensive. Your liability insurance will cover damages such as:
- medical expenses;
- pain and suffering;
- lost wages;
- legal expenses;
- And more.
Different policies will have different maximum amounts that the insurance company will pay out for a liability claim. Chat with your broker to find a coverage that’s right for you.
Accident-Proof Your Property
Even though your liability coverage has your back, the more claims you submit the higher your premiums will be. To keep costs down, implement the methods below to keep your property safe and minimize the chance of a slip, trip or fall.
- Use slip-resistant rugs on slippery surfaces, or areas that are known to be extra slippery when wet. (bathtubs, tile floors, etc.)
- Keep all walkways free of ice and snow. Each city will have its own timeframe in which you are required to shovel or salt your property by.
- Ensure all areas of your home (inside and out) are properly lit. Pay special attention to accident-prone areas like staircases.
- Keep handrails on staircases in good repair.
- Repair any uneven or cracked surfaces in your home.
- Keep walkways free of debris such as leaves, tree branches or grass clippings.
Remember: it’s not only the outside of your house that you have to consider when it comes to liability claims. There are many times when guests are invited into your home (babysitters, pet sitters, repair technicians) so it’s important that your entire house is looked after to prevent any accidents from occurring.
What To Do When An Accident Occurs
Follow these steps after an accident on your property occurs to make sure you have all the information required should a claim or lawsuit arise.
- Assist the injured person. Call an ambulance if necessary.
- Take down the names and contact information of the injured person (if possible), and any witnesses at the scene. Record detailed descriptions of the incident from both the victim and witnesses.
- If the victim tries to discuss the accident with you, refer them to your insurer. Never admit liability.
- Take pictures of the scene and write down your version of events. The more detail the better!
- Call your insurance broker. They will ask you for the details of the incident, and what you did (if anything) to avoid the incident.
Call Capital Insurance
Let the team at Capital Insurance make sure you have the right coverage in place for your home. Whether you are a homeowner or a tenant, our experts will work with you to create a personalized, comprehensive and competitive home insurance policy. Give us a call or get started on your free home insurance quote today!