Q: If our daughter were to cause an accident while playing in her Barbie Jeep in the street in front of our house, would that be covered by our homeowners insurance?
My daughter recently received a motorized Barbie Jeep for her birthday, and she's so excited. I, however, am worried about her getting hurt while driving the Jeep on our street--we live on a fairly busy residential road. Am I worrying too much, or would we really be vulnerable if something like that happened? What policy would that be covered under?
A: This is an interesting question and one that does not have a simple cut-and-dry answer. What you have here is an issue dealing with liability, which is one of the coverage types that is included with your homeowners insurance. The question here is whether or not your policy will cover liability for an accident caused by your daughter’s Barbie Jeep.
Most homeowners insurance policies include written exclusions for liability resulting from accidents caused by motor vehicles. Believe it or not, a Barbie Jeep, because it has a motor—albeit a weak one—is technically a motor vehicle. According to the language of nearly all insurance policies drawn up prior to 2011, liability coverage does not extend to any motorized vehicles, even if they are only toys that carry small children.
This has changed. Beginning in 2011, the standard homeowners insurance policy language was changed to include coverage for such things as Barbie Jeeps. However, this does not necessarily mean that your insurance will cover it. Just because the wording on the standard form has been updated does not mean that all insurance companies have adopted it yet. For policies that are already in place, the changes may or may not have been made to them.
If this is of concern to you and you want to be certain that you are covered for liability if your daughter causes injuries or property damage while on her toy Jeep, you need to speak with your insurance agent to find out whether or not you have coverage. If you do not, your agent may be able to get your insurance company to update your policy to include it. If they cannot make this change, it may be necessary to switch to an insurance company that will provide coverage. A Trusted Choice® independent insurance agent can help you find and compare suitable policies.