Mike, While walking around the Denver metro area this winter, I’ve encountered many icy and snow packed sidewalks.  I know Denver has ordinances in place to make sure homeowners remove snow, but I’m curious, what are the possible implications to the homeowner from an insurance standpoint? -Sam

Sam, keeping your sidewalks clear of snow and ice is not only being a good neighbor, it’s also your responsibility.  I’ve encountered a handful of liability claims in my career that were caused by cracked, snowy or icy sidewalks.  If there’s a sidewalk adjacent to your property and not separated by an open space, it’s your responsibility, as the homeowner, to keep this sidewalk safe.  If someone were to slip on your sidewalk and get injured, you will quite likely be held liable. While it’s ideal to keep your property free of hazards, we luckily have homeowners insurance to protect us from having to pay out of pocket.  Most homeowner policies include a minimum of $100,000 in personal liability insurance. If you cause bodily injury or property damage to another (excluding while driving a car or in the course of making money), personal liability can protect you from costly legal fees and settlements  Even though we have insurance for such unfortunate events, it’s best to be a great neighbor and clear your sidewalks.  A liability claim on your home could increase your home insurance by over 50% for 3-5 years and may even you get you non renewed! I recommend carrying enough liability insurance to cover your assets and earning potential in the event of a lawsuit.  You don’t want one mistake to cost you everything you own.

Mike Schmisek is a Colorado resident and has been in the insurance industry for over 11 years.  He is the owner of Premier Mountain Insurance.  He can be reached at 303.922.1002