What Is a Personal Injury Endorsement?

When purchasing insurance, a policyholder generally has his or her choice of types of coverage. The types and amounts of available coverage vary based on several factors, including the policyholder’s level of risk in the eyes of the insurance carrier, the type of coverage he or she wishes to purchase, and state laws. For homeowners insurance, policyholders generally have the option to purchase endorsements, or additional forms of coverage in addition to the existing coverage within the policy. One of the most potentially valuable endorsements a homeowner policyholder can purchase is a personal injury endorsement.

How Does a Personal Injury Endorsement Work

A personal injury endorsement is an additional coverage option for most homeowners insurance policies. While the exact coverage terms and cost will vary based on the type of policy and the carrier’s policies, this type of coverage can take effect when the policyholder must defend against libel or slander. A personal injury endorsement may also offer defense cost coverage in other situations, such as a false arrest, wrongful invasion of privacy, or illegal search and seizure.

In the current social and political climate, the pressure for Americans to remain politically correct has led to a dramatic increase in the number of slander and libel lawsuits. Additionally, parents are starting to face legal consequences for their children’s public statements on social media. For example, if a child starts bullying another child through social media and the victim suffers psychological trauma or engages in self-harm as a response, the bully’s parents could very likely face legal action from the victim’s family.

Potential Uses of a Personal Injury Endorsement

It is very difficult to predict which public statements could lead to legal trouble. Many judges have broadened the definitions of slander and libel to the point where a seemingly innocuous comment can potentially lead to a multimillion-dollar lawsuit. In the event a person with a personal injury endorsement on his or her insurance policy faces a slander or libel lawsuit, the endorsement can help cover defense costs.

Significant limitations apply to the coverage afforded by a personal injury endorsement. Generally, this coverage will not apply to anything related to non-personal or business activities. It is essential for anyone considering purchasing a personal injury endorsement to carefully read the insurance policy’s fine print to determine the full scope of coverage. As a rule of thumb, personal injury endorsement coverage does not apply to actual physical injuries.

Determining Your Coverage Needs

A personal injury endorsement is relatively inexpensive. For most insurance carriers, maintaining this form of coverage costs roughly $100 per year but offers extensive protection in the event of a covered incident. You may assume that a personal injury endorsement is an unnecessary expense, but having this type of coverage can be tremendously beneficial in many unexpected circumstances. You may have no idea your child has been sending abusive social media messages to other kids at school, or someone could misconstrue one of your social media posts and file a defamation or libel lawsuit against you.

Additional coverage always leads higher premiums, but the low cost of a personal injury endorsement and potentially extensive coverage it can offer make it one of the most cost-effective and worthwhile additions possible for homeowner insurance policies. If you are considering purchasing a personal injury endorsement, make sure you carefully review the state laws that may pertain to your policy and review the exact wording of the terms so you know which events will qualify for coverage under your personal injury endorsement.