By Peter Borszcz / Buyers, Common Questions, Contracts /

Home Insurance is a requirement of every residential mortgage, however having an effective home insurance policy is a good practice for all homeowners. Under the standard Contract of Purchase and Sale, the BUYER is liable for all RISK in the property as a 12:01am on the CLOSING DATE. The take home point here is that your insurance needs to be in place before the CLOSING DATE. It is a common mistake to delay your policy until a later possession/ moving date thinking that you are not responsible until you get the keys.

There are lots of choices when obtaining home insurance, policies vary in terms of the extent and type of coverage that they provide; Your insurance agent is the best person to advise on everything from a limited specified perils, to a broad form, to a comprehensive policy.

At Montgomery Miles & Stone Law Firm, our personal injury litigators know that an important part of any policy is the third party liability insurance. In this portion of the policy, the insurer agrees to indemnify the insured owner for any judgments rendered against them for bodily injury or death arising out of their negligence with respect to the maintenance of their property and activities that may occur on their property, provided the acts or omissions do not fall within specific exceptions within the policy.  The insurance company also agrees to hire a lawyer to defend the property owner when a lawsuit is brought against them.   The insurance company however, only agrees to pay out to the limits of the third party liability insurance.

Most policies typically come with an automatic $1,000,000.00 third party liability limit.  In today’s world, this is probably inadequate and often coverage of up to $5,000,000.00 may be available. Imagine if someone tripped on a loose board on your staircase, and fell down, resulting in a head injury.  Compensation would include general damages for pain and suffering, but also probably the injured person’s past and future loss of income, costs of care, and out of pocket expenses. The value of these claims can be large (our law firm regularly sees claims well in excess of $2,000,000), and if the insurance limits are insufficient to pay the whole of the claim, the home owner will be required to pay any shortfall out of their own pocket (or may be forced to sell their home to pay for the resulting judgment).

Written by Personal Injury Lawyer Penny Pearson