Most people don’t realize that their home insurance, whether they rent or own, protects them from many other risks.
I once took a case where a teenager lost sight in one eye after being hit by a snowball at school. The boy wasn’t participating in the snowball fight when he was hit. In the end, the home insurance of the boy who threw the snowball paid the claim because he was negligent. Even though he wasn’t aiming for my client, he still hit him in the eye.
If the boy throwing the snowball had been trying to hit my client, the insurance company wouldn’t have paid. Why? Because then the action of throwing the snowball and hitting my client would be considered intentional and not accidental. Insurance companies, as a general rule, only cover negligent acts. They do not cover intentional acts.
Let me give you another example. Over the years I have had a few clients come to me and tell me that they were hit by a car and that the driver of the car that hit them did so on purpose and with intent. In all cases the driver never admitted to hitting my client intentionally. This was just something that my clients believed. In these circumstances I advised my clients to never express that belief to anyone else.
I give this advice for two reasons: Firstly it’s just a belief. My client has no idea what was in the driver’s head at the time. Secondly, if it was intentional then it would be considered a crime and not an accident. If it was a crime then the driver’s insurance company without a doubt will argue that damages are not payable on behalf of their insured. As a general rule, insurance companies do not protect their own clients who have committed crimes. Remember that when you sue for damages you are suing the person who caused the damages not the person’s insurance company. If the person’s insurance company says that they will not cover the loss then the person who caused the damage must pay directly – and often they don’t have enough money.
Insurance issues can get complicated. If you’ve been hurt in a car accident, call us at 416-533-7133 for a free consultation.
Written by Antonio Azevedo