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By Personal Insurance

How Personal Umbrella Insurance Protects You: A Few Basics

The threat of a lawsuit is all too real in today’s society. You conceivably could be subject to allegations of liability for bodily injury — for example, as a result of an auto accident that hurts another person. You could even be sued for poor judgment — for example, if you were to post defamatory comments online that caused damage to someone else’s reputation.

If you find yourself named in a lawsuit and have homeowner’s insurance, your policy will offer personal liability coverage that is generally considered broad in scope — but it doesn’t cover everything. Also, the limits available may not prove sufficient to pay the full cost of damages for which you become liable. The same is true for damages caused in an auto accident, watercraft accident, recreational vehicle accident or many other exposures that may be addressed by various liability insurance policies.

Adding a personal umbrella insurance policy may help save you and your family from the financial ruin that could result from defending against and paying for such a claim.

Cover Your Ass(ets)

State laws vary on the types of assets that are at risk (and to what degree) in a lawsuit filed against an individual. If you or a family member are sued, your bank accounts, certain investments and your property will likely all be targeted by the injured party’s lawyer. Even your income (present and future) can be targeted through wage garnishments. Asset managers can provide some guidance in financial protection, but many people don’t have the means to employ one.

Liability insurance provides the most realistic asset protection. Unfortunately, though, a majority of policyholders purchase the least amount of insurance that they can legally get away with. For example, most states require a minimum limit of auto liability insurance to lawfully drive a car, and most drivers purchase only that minimum.

The insurance company from whom you purchase your primary personal liability insurance — usually your homeowner’s or auto insurance company — may cap the limit of how much liability insurance you can buy. For example, many homeowner’s insurance companies won’t offer higher than a $1 million limit for personal liability coverage. If you want to increase that available limit, you can do so easily by purchasing a personal umbrella insurance policy.

More Dollars for Damages & Better Coverage

Most see the primary function of a personal umbrella policy as providing more money to pay for damages resulting from a claim covered by one of your primary (often called “underlying”) insurance policies — usually your homeowner’s and auto insurance. However, some umbrellas can be broader in scope than the primary policy, offering coverage for certain claims that otherwise would not be paid at all. For example, some umbrellas cover certain personal injury claims — such as libel, slander or violation of privacy — that may not be covered by the homeowner’s policy.

Schedule a policy review with us, your Trusted Choice® Independent Insurance Agent to determine if the umbrella policy you’re considering may cover claims that your primary policies will not.

Your Best Defense

You’ll likely find, as do other policyholders, that your liability policy’s most valuable function is to pay the cost of defending you against an allegation even if it proves groundless — assuming the nature of the allegation is insurable by your policy. For most people, legal costs are prohibitively expensive, thus adding significant value to an insurance policy that agrees to pay them.

Depending on the type of claim and the primary insurance policy involved, it’s possible that your personal umbrella policy may also kick in to provide defense and cover such costs. To understand if and when it will do so as well as the possible effects this could have on the available limit of your insurance, schedule a policy review with us, your Trusted Choice® Independent Insurance Agent.

How to Minimize Cost & Coverage Disputes

Many insurance companies offer personal umbrella insurance policies. But if it’s possible, consider obtaining your umbrella policy from the same insurance company that provides your primary insurance. Doing so may not only produce a cost savings but may also limit possible disputes in coverage and defense that could arise between separate insurance companies.

Your Insurance Should Grow with You

Your liability exposures evolve as your life evolves. Whenever you build your assets or expand your family, your risk picture changes. A personal umbrella policy can significantly increase your family’s liability insurance coverage for a reasonable cost relative to the protection it offers. Check out our site for more information, or contact us and let us find you not only the most appropriate coverage but at a price you can be comfortable with.

Why You Need Personal Offense Coverage

By Insurance

In today’s digital world, slander and libel lawsuits are more common than you may think. Comments made in haste or anger on social media can have lasting and far-reaching effects on a person’s reputation or character, so it’s easier than ever to libel, slander, or invade a person’s privacy. Even if you apologize, you can […]

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10 Things to do to Prepare Your Home for Fall

By Insurance

Fall is a wonderful time — if your home is ready for it. So enjoy the last few weeks of warmer weather, but do a little preventative maintenance while you’re at it. You’ll fix small problems before they become big, and big ones before they become catastrophes. Here are 10 tips to help: Look up. […]

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Keep Cool — While Keeping Your Energy Costs Down

By Insurance

Two-thirds of households in America have air conditioners, according to the U.S. Department of Energy — and they spend a total $11 billion each year running them. Our guess is that most of those households (which may include yours!) wouldn’t mind spending a little less to keep their homes cool. Because as great as it […]

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Tips for Power Tool Safety

By Insurance

What would you do without power tools? Well, you’d probably take on fewer home-improvement projects — and probably have a lot more calluses on your hands. Thankfully, you don’t have to do without. But you do have to use tools safely, if you want to do good work and keep all of your fingers and […]

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What is water backup coverage and why is it important?

By Insurance

Water damage can be disastrous to your home. Imagine discovering that your entire basement is filled with brown water and sewage from a backed-up water main or other pipe. It’s not only disgusting and potentially dangerous, it’s also expensive. On average, most water backup claims cost $5,000-$10,000 to repair. Water backup coverage is optional coverage […]

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7 Facts About Teachers That Might Surprise You

By Insurance

“What really makes a teacher is love … for it is love that transforms the social duty of the educator into the higher consciousness of a mission.” Almost everyone has a story about a teacher who inspired them—the one who made learning fun, ignited a passion for a specific topic, or even pushed students hard […]

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