Monday, October 22, 2012
What happens if your Friday night pumpkin carving party turns into "Attack Of The Kitchen Knife" and one of your guests has to make a visit to the emergency room? Who is responsible for the bills your guest incurs from things that go bump in the night? The answer is, it depends! Every situation is different and I cannot tell you which will result in your being responsible and which will not, but if it turns out you DO have to pay for the medical needs of a guest, where is the money going to come from?
Hopefully (if you've got the right kind of home insurance coverage), it will come from your home insurance policy. Most home insurance policies have Coverage F - Guest Medical Coverage. The limit of coverage you choose is up to you and typically ranges from $1000-$5000 in coverage. Meaning if your guest is injured on your property your home insurance would pay the first $1000-$5000 of guest medical bills, depending on what limit you chose for your policy. Here is how a typical insurance policy explains guest medical coverage:
"COVERAGE F – MEDICAL PAYMENTS TO OTHERS
We will pay the necessary medical expenses incurred or medically ascertained within three years from the date of an accident causing bodily injury. Medical expenses mean reasonable charges for medical, surgical, x-ray, dental, ambulance, hospital, professional nursing, prosthetic devices, and funeral services.
This coverage does not apply to you or regular residents of your household other than residence employees. As to others, this coverage applies only:
1. to a person on the insured location with the permission of any insured; or
2. to a person off the insured location, if the bodily injury:
a. arises out of a condition in the insured location or the ways immediately
b. is caused by the activities of any insured;
c. is caused by a residence employee in the course of the residence employee's employment by any insured;
d. is caused by an animal owned by or in the care of any insured."
What happens if you do NOT have guest medical coverage, or if you do not have enough coverage? Here's the scary part, you still owe the money! Your insurance policy does not assume responsibility and liability for you, it simply pays the amount you owe, up to the policy limit, and then stops paying. That is why I recommend increasing your guest medical coverage to the maximum offered under your home insurance policy. The price is minimal for the extra coverage.
Keep in mind, you could have some additional coverage (emphasis on could) for guest medical under your liability limit, but do yourself and your family a favor and remove as much of the scary stuff as possible. Increase your Coverage F - Guest Medical Coverage to the max allowed. It should only cost you a couple of extra dollars a month and it's money well spent.