Bill Cosby Using His Homeowner’s Insurance to Help Pay Legal Costs

When a celebrity is facing a big legal battle, it takes an army of lawyers to keep him free. That costs money, and these famous (or infamous) people don’t necessarily have unlimited funds. So how do they handle those legal bills?

Homeowner’s insurance.

Case in point: Bill Cosby. The New York Times reports that his policy can cover him if sued for personal injury, and it’s not as uncommon an act as you might think.

Most homeowner’s insurance covers “bodily injury”; that means, if someone is in your home, trips on something and sues you, your insurance can cover it. Some policies also offer “personal injury” coverage; like the name implies, that means injury to yourself. Cosby’s coverage “is a lot like those held by millions of affluent homeowners and other wealthy people who bolster their insurance coverage so that they are protected if they are ever sued.”

Remember, these aren’t criminal proceedings. The 10 women are suing Cosby for defamation—or for being accused of making up lies about the comedian—whose fortune was once estimated to be $400 million. Personal injury covers injury to the mind and emotions, and defamation is considered a personal injury. But Cosby isn’t free and clear, because his insurer is trying to avoid paying those bills.

Mr. Cosby’s insurer, American International Group, better known as A.I.G., has gone to court to deny him coverage, arguing, among other things, that it should not have to cover claims that arose from alleged acts of sexual misconduct.

But so far, Mr. Cosby is winning.

In case you’re curious, Cosby isn’t the only person to use this tactic. Pitcher Roger Clemens, O. J. Simpson and Bill Clinton have used personal injury coverage to battle lawsuits.