McQuiston: When The In-Laws Move In … Are They Covered?

The Jemez Agency

As the Baby Boomer generation continues to grow older, it’s not uncommon to see aging parents move in with their grown children. Regardless of the reason, this situation is becoming more widespread and could potentially create insurance ramifications.

Let’s look at the language in a standard  homeowners form. Please keep in mind these forms and their language can differ from insurance company to insurance company. The policy defines “insured” to include you and residents of your household who are your relatives. This definition will be helpful as we look to make sure proper coverage exists.

Next, we’ll look at how the policy addresses contents within the home.

The form states that “we cover personal property owned or used by an “insured” while it is anywhere in the world.”

Since a parent who moves in with us is considered an “insured,” his or her contents will also be covered by the homeowner policy. Therefore, we’re good to go from a property standpoint.  However, the same coverage limitations apply to things like jewelry and fine art, so if Mom has an expensive wedding ring or a family heirloom, check with your insurance agent to make sure you have adequate coverage.

Let’s move onto the personal liability portion of the policy. Provided a claim is made or suit is brought against an “insured” for damages because of bodily injury or property damage caused by an “occurrence” as defined in the policy, the policy will pay up to the limit of liability for which an “insured” is legally liable. For example, if my mother-in-law takes my children out for ice cream and accidentally trips someone, she would be covered for the resulting bodily injury and/or property damage. Other bodily injury or property damage claims against her may also be covered provided the situation results from an “occurrence” that isn’t excluded (such as the use of motor vehicles, aircraft, watercraft, etc.).

These coverages would also apply to grown children who move out of the home and then move back in (with children of their own).

As with any coverage question, you should contact your insurance professional to make sure you have the proper coverage.