In the News from Panama

Panama Insurance: You May be at Risk

By Kevin Bradley

Unfortunately, Panama is evolving into a litigious society much like the United States. Panama universities are producing legions of lawyers ready to sue. Every homeowner needs to be aware they are at risk of a lawsuit from an accident on your property.

Fortunately, you can protect yourself and your home with an inexpensive insurance coverage using a Multi-Risk homeowners policy. Many homeowners don’t consider multi-risk coverage — or they wrongly believe they are already covered—leaving themselves exposed to lawsuits.

A multi-risk policy—with prices starting at less than $100 a year—can shield you from a wide variety of disasters. Imagine that you leave a faucet open or the toilet springs a leak in your condo causing water damage to your neighbors or common areas? The personal liability provisions of a Multi-Risk Homeowner policy, although limited, could step in and provide payment to cover the damage to the third party’s property and provide legal assistance for any lawsuit that may arise.

The Multi-Risk Homeowners contract in may also provide coverage for you and the members of your household for your actions away from the home. Incidents such as a dog biting a neighbor, a kid breaking a window or damage from a stray golf ball may all be covered by a Multi-Risk policy.

A comprehensive multi-risk policy also provides protection for many other risks, including fire, lightning, earthquake, explosions, windstorm, theft and special coverage for electronic equipment. Standalone liability policies are also available for higher limits of exposure.

You might be surprised at the type of coverage available. A content package includes coverage for break in with forced entry; assault inside and outside the house; $250.00 reimbursement if your credit card gets stolen; locksmith service in case of a domestic emergency; and plumbing and electrical services, if there is a domestic emergency, among other coverages. There is also a special provision available for electronic equipment.

In evaluating coverage, it’s important to consider the history and reputation of the company and the broker. It is also important to evaluate your personal risk and what is important to you, when considering the type of coverage. That process should include inventorying and valuing high ticket items, such as paintings, sculptures, and collectibles, so you determine the best amount of coverage.

The best part of a Multi-Risk Homeowners policy is the price. Coverage of $20,000 worth of contents coverage is about $90 per year. Liability coverage for damage to third parties is about $50 per year.

The key is finding the right amount of coverage that fits your budget and makes sense for you. But there is no doubt that a Multi-Risk Homeowners policy can reduce the risk of litigation in your life and make it easier to sleep at night.

Kevin Bradley has been an insurance broker in Panama since 2007. For further information, he can be reached at