Avoid Summer Setbacks: Tips to Protect Your Home and Guests


Avoid Summer Setbacks: Tips to Protect Your Home and Guests

July 2, 2024

As summer sets in, it’s the perfect time to host more pool parties and backyard get-togethers! But with more events, comes more risk, and life is full of unexpected twists—like a slip-and-fall on your driveway, your pet’s run-in with a guest, or a kid-related mishap damaging your neighbour’s property. The last thing you want is to be on the hook for a pile of medical, legal, and/or repair bills at a moment’s notice!

The good news? Most standard Home Insurance policies include Personal Liability coverage to protect you just in case a surprising situation arises. Keep reading to learn more about what Personal Liability Insurance is, what exactly it covers, and how it can protect you!

What is Personal Liability Insurance?


When you think about what Home Insurance covers, the first thing that probably springs to mind is the physical structure of your house, along with your personal belongings that reside within. While this may be accurate, it’s also worth noting that your coverage extends far beyond the four walls of your home!

Personal Liability Insurance is a type of coverage that protects you financially if you’re held responsible for causing accidental bodily injury or property damage to someone that doesn’t reside in your home. It’s a standard inclusion in your Home Insurance policy, and covers all members of your household, including children and eligible pets. And it’s not just limited to events occurring on or near your property, it also extends to accidents that happen elsewhere, like at an outdoor park, or even while you’re on vacation!


Personal Liability Insurance covers:

  • Medical Expenses: That includes hospital bills, medications, and other costs related to claims of bodily harm. This could be an injury caused by a household member or pet, or an injury that occurred on your property, such as a slip and fall. Lost wages will be covered if the injured party is unable to work as a result.
  • Property Damage: This includes repair costs resulting from claims of property damage (not including vehicles—that falls under Auto Insurance!)
  • Legal Fees: If you’re sued or have a claim that ends up going to court, you’ll be covered for the cost of a lawyer, as well as any fines or settlements owed—up to your policy limit, that is.

But keep in mind: Personal Liability won’t cover injuries sustained by you or anyone else within your household, nor will it cover any intentional damage—it only applies if someone else is injured unintentionally. Additionally, your personal Home Insurance policy won’t respond if you run a home-based business, and a business-related claim of property damage or bodily injury occurs, such as a customer slip-and-fall, an employee injury, or an equipment malfunction that affects your neighbour’s property.


RELATED: 10 Factors That Affect Your Home Insurance Premiums

What are the most common Personal Liability claims?


Although your coverage applies beyond just your property, it should come as no surprise that the most common Personal Liability claims stem from accidents that occur right on your very own premises. Here are some of the most prevalent examples, and our tips for managing your risk:


1. Slips, Trips, and Falls


Whether it’s a dinner party guest, delivery person, or even a passerby, slips, trips and falls are typically the most common source of Personal Liability claims. Some precautions you can take to avoid these situations include:

  • Clear away clutter on the ground: shoes, toys, loose cords, and unsecured rugs indoors, as well as yard waste, ice, and snow outdoors, including the sidewalk near your house.
  • Repair instances of uneven walkways, broken stairs, and damaged handrails/guardrails.
  • Use non-slip mats on any surface that’s prone to becoming wet and slippery, such as the kitchen, bathroom, and near the entrances of your home.
  • Make sure the interior and exterior areas of your home are well-lit so that guests can see potential hazards.


RELATED: 10 Things Your Home Insurance Doesn’t Cover

2. Dog and Animal Bites


Injuries related to dogs and other animals are also a common source of claims. So if your dog has biting tendencies, ensure that it’s kept outside or safely restrained when you’re expecting guests or mail deliveries to prevent any mishaps.

One note: dog bite claims aren’t always cut-and-dry. If you have a dog, connect with your insurer to ensure that your specific dog breed is covered, and to learn more about what could happen if your dog were to bite someone.


RELATED: 9 Surprising Things Covered by Home Insurance

3. Pool-Related Incidents


If you have a swimming pool in your backyard, it’s important to take extra preventative measures to reduce hazards. Pool-related accidents have the potential to cause claims that are on the more serious side, especially when kids are involved. Here are some pool safety tips for your home:

  • Never leave children unattended in the pool—always have an adult present to actively supervise swimming children.
  • Establish and enforce pool rules, such as no running and no diving in shallow areas.
  • Invest in a strong pool cover, and keep your pool covered when it’s not in use to prevent accidental falls.
  • Consider installing a fence around your pool, with a latching gate to prevent unwanted access by pets, children, or any trespassers.
  • Keep your pool area clean, with non-slip material around the pool deck to avert slips and falls.
  • Ensure that your swimming guests and household members know to swim, or are in the process of learning.
  • Stay prepared for emergencies by getting CPR certified, and keeping rescue equipment nearby, like life rings, reaching poles, and a first aid kit.


RELATED: 6 Tips For Protecting Your Seasonal Property

4. Falling Trees and Branches


Trees and branches falling over can easily result in Personal Liability claims, particularly to your neighbour’s property, like a broken fence or a caved in roof. Don’t wait until stormy season hits—prepare ahead of time by trimming your trees and having them inspected by a professional if there are signs of rot or damage.


RELATED: How to Storm-Proof Your Home

5. Alcohol-Related Incidents


If you host a party and serve drinks to guests, you could be held liable for resulting instances of bodily injury or property damage where alcohol is deemed to be a major contributing factor. Take the time to understand your liquor liability as a host, and don’t hesitate to reach out to your broker if you have any questions about your coverage!

Here are our tips for you to encourage responsible drinking as a host:

  • Make sure there is a designated driver in each party upon arrival and limit their alcohol consumption.
  • Provide plenty of non-alcoholic drinks and food options for guests.
  • Stop or reduce the amount of alcohol served around an hour before you expect guests to begin leaving.
  • Don’t hesitate to stop intoxicated guests from getting behind the wheel, and be prepared to call a cab or use a rideshare app on their behalf.
  • If possible, have a spare bedroom or bed available in case of any last-minute overnight guests.
  • For more formal functions like a wedding or upscale party, make sure that anyone serving alcohol at an event in Ontario is Smart Serve certified and knows how to recognize the signs of intoxication.
  • For maximum protection, consider getting a separate Host Liquor Liability Insurance policy to put your mind at ease and protect yourself as a host.


RELATED: 6 Common Home Insurance Claims—and How to Avoid Them

How much Personal Liability Insurance do I need?


The short answer: it depends. Most standard Home Insurance policies provide $1,000,000 in Personal Liability coverage, which means that the insurance company can pay up to that amount in total per occurrence. However, bills can quickly add up when both medical fees and legal costs are involved at the same time, so if you feel like you need more protection, higher limits and additional coverages are available. If you frequently entertain guests and/or have higher-risk home features, like a swimming pool or a trampoline, it might be a good idea to consider increasing coverage to protect yourself (and your peace of mind).

Take the time to review your policy to better understand what’s covered, and what’s not. For questions and more personalized advice, connect with your broker to discuss your options.


RELATED: 5 Advantages of Using an Independent Insurance Broker

Need help securing the right Home Insurance policy? By taking the time to understand your lifestyle and assess potential risks—whether it’s hosting gatherings, having a pool, or owning pets—PROLINK will guide you towards the most relevant and comprehensive coverage for your unique needs.


With over 40 years in business and access to a wide network of over 30 insurers, we’ve seen it all—and we have the expertise needed to get you the right policy, from the right insurer, at the right price. Our dedicated advisors will provide ongoing support, adjusting your policy as your circumstances change and advocating for you during claims, so that you can enjoy your home and summer activities with peace of mind.


To learn more, connect with PROLINK today!

PROLINK’s blog posts are general in nature. They do not take into account your personal objectives or financial situation and are not a substitute for professional advice. The specific terms of your policy will always apply. We bear no responsibility for the accuracy, legality, or timeliness of any external content.

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