Personal Injury

While you might be familiar with the terms "bodily injury" and "property damage" which refer to accidentally harming others or their property (respectively), there is another source of loss faced by most persons called "personal injury." Unlike events that result in a person suffering a serious injury or property that is damaged or destroyed, personal injury usually involves interference with another person's legal rights or hurting another person's reputation. Typically, personal injury includes the following acts:

  • False arrest, detention or imprisonment - Example: A homeowner locks a teen she suspects of stealing in a bedroom for an hour until the police arrive and it turns out the teen did nothing wrong:
  • Malicious prosecution - Example: A gentleman accuses his neighbor of stealing a laptop from his home and files charges with the police;
  • The wrongful eviction from, wrongful entry into, or invasion of the right of private occupancy of a room, dwelling or premises that a person occupies, committed by or on behalf of its owner, landlord or lessor - Example: A boarder comes home from work and finds his room's door padlocked. The homeowner/landlord did it after the boarder, for the third night in a row, plays his stereo loudly;
  • Oral or written publication of material that slanders or libels a person or organization or disparages a person's or organization's goods, products or services - Example: A homeowner is the president of her PTA and she also publishes articles for the association on her Website. After an argument with another PTA officer, the president recounts the incident on her site and includes some insults and false items about the person; or,
  • Oral or written publication of material that violates a person's right of privacy - Example: A woman is visiting a friend. During the visit, she overhears her friend's conversation with her doctor. The next day, the person reveals to others that the friend, a young, single female, is having medical problems due to an unexpected pregnancy.

Naturally these are the type of incidents that could result in lawsuits. However, they are also the sort of events that are excluded from coverage by the typical homeowners policy. The major reason for their exclusion is that they are deliberate acts rather than being accidental. One way to get some coverage for such losses is to purchase personal umbrella coverage. It may be worthwhile to discuss your possible need for personal injury coverage with an insurance professional.

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