Can I be held responsible for repayment to an insurance company for expenses regarding a fire, if it was caused by my son and we live on the premises?

My 17 year old son who started a grease fire in a home my mother in-law owns but that we live in rent free. We have no renters insurance because we aren’t renting. Can her insurance company hold me responsible for repayment of the repairs made to the structure of the home?

Asked on October 17, 2011 under Insurance Law, Michigan


M.T.G., Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

What you are up against here is who is considered a "covered person" under the insurance policy.  Generally speaking, a covered person is the person who is named in the insurance policy.  Also generally speaking, a spouse and children are also considered covered people.  Your Mother's policy will in fact define this term and you should absolutely  look in the policy for the "terms and definitions" section.  Now, here is the other thing you need to look at.  You need to look at your Mother's application for the insurance coverage.  She may have listed who occupies the house.  And although I would not get too crazy if she just answered herself I would consult with her agent and an attorney and the State Department of Insurance.  Good luck.

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