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Ask the Home Insurance Expert

My husband is planning on using a grill for the first time during the holiday weekend. If he has a grilling accident where the grill is damaged, the house catches fire or he catches someone on fire are we covered by home insurance? Yes, I’m a nervous Nellie.

Yes, grilling accidents such these would be covered by your homeowners insurance policy.

The portion of your home insurance that covers your structure (home) typically covers fire, smoke, lightning, wind, hail, freezing of pipes, theft, explosion, falling objects, vandalism and a few other perils.  Thus, if your husband turns out to be a dangerous griller and sets the house on fire, you would be able to make a homeowners claim.  A deductible will be due, but if the damage is extensive it will be worth making a claim.

Damaged belongings, such as a ruined grill, are covered under your personal property coverage.  This type of claim also has a deductible.  If the cost of the damaged grill doesn’t meet the deductible amount, there is no reason to make a claim.  Or, if the grill is the only thing damaged and you can afford to buy a new one on your own, you should consider not making a claim.  This way you can keep your grill mishap to yourself and not have the incident and resulting claim affect your future homeowners insurance rates.

Hopefully no one visiting your home will be harmed, but if someone is injured it will be covered by either your home policy’s guest medical or your liability coverage.  Guest medical (sometimes called medical payments to others) pays for reasonable medical expenses resulting from a medical emergency that happened on your property.

Your home policy’s liability coverage is more extensive and pays for injury (or property damage) that you may cause to others, up to your limits.

However, if you or your husband are injured by the grill, this would not be covered by your homeowners policy.  Instead, you would need to put your medical expenses through your health insurance provider.

Here are some grilling safety tips from the National Fire Protection Association that you can share with your husband:

  • Propane and charcoal BBQ grills should only be used outdoors.
  • The grill should be placed well away from the home, deck railings and out from under eaves and overhanging branches.
  • Keep your grill clean by removing grease or fat buildup from the grills and in trays below the grill.
  • Never leave your grill unattended.
  • Keep children and pets away from the grill area.

And the Insurance Information Institute adds one more – keep a fire extinguisher nearby at all times, just in case.  Good luck and happy grilling.

Last updated: Jul. 2, 2014