When a Guest Causes Damage

When a Guest Causes Damage

Being a home owner can be wonderful for the holidays; it can offer a place to entertain house guests or have dinner parties. But what if something goes awry and a guest breaks a window, knocks over your new flat screen TV or damages something else around your home?

Guest Liability

If a guest gets hurt on your property as a result of a danger they were not warned about, you are liable for their injuries. However if a guest damages your property they, not you are liable for the cost to fix it. Sometimes dealing with guests, who may be family or friends, still can get sticky. But they do have a legal responsibility to reimburse you for the costs you incur. If your guests refuse to pay, you may have grounds for legal action.

When to Use Your Policy

“Does my homeowners’ policy cover damage caused by my guests?” Most of the time, the answer is yes. Typically a policy will provide coverage no matter who was at fault, yet you still should review your policy for any situations it may exclude. Here are some things to ask about:

  • Your policy may only cover the house or structure (floors and walls)
  • Damage to personal property such as furnishings or electronics may not be covered
  • Coverage may apply only to accidental damage

However the most important question to ask is, “Do I want to sue my homeowners’ policy to cover damage caused by my guests?” Your guests are legally responsibly for the costs involved in fixing any damage they cause. Using your homeowners’ policy to cover the damage caused by a guest may end up costing yourself in the long run; your premium can be affected by the claims you file regardless of who caused the damage.