An umbrella policy, or excess liability coverage, provides liability protection above your standard homeowner, auto, or boat insurance and may cover you for claims that are excluded by your other liability policies. It is designed to help protect you from major claims and lawsuits and protect your assets and your future.
It’s important to make sure you understand key risk areas that may not be part of your standard Homeowners or Auto policy and where you may benefit from additional coverage.
What Does Umbrella Insurance Cover?
An umbrella policy provides additional coverage or “excess liability” above the limits of your basic policies. It can protect you from bodily injury liability claims and property damage liability claims. Umbrella policies also provide a broader form of coverage and can help cover legal fees, false arrest, libel, and slander.
How Does Umbrella Insurance Work?
An umbrella insurance policy kicks in if you are found liable and need to pay damages, or if you are sued and need to pay for your legal defense. It only pays once your basic liability limits have been exhausted or if the claim is excluded from the basic liability coverage.
COULD THIS HAPPEN TO YOU?
Your teenage son or daughter throws a party on your property while you’re away. An underage guest gets arrested for driving under the influence, and you get sued for negligence.
Your dog runs out of the house and knocks over your neighbor. The dog didn’t bite the neighbor, but she hit her head on the sidewalk and got a concussion. They can sue you for medical bills, emotional distress, and lost wages.
You get into a car accident and the total damages, including the other driver’s injuries, are significantly higher than the limits of your auto policy. An umbrella policy would provide the additional coverage. Without it, you would be responsible for coming up with that amount out of pocket.
Why is an Umbrella Insurance Policy Important?
If you are sued for a lot of money and do not have enough liability insurance or an umbrella policy to cover those costs, all your assets are exposed. People typically choose to buy an umbrella policy because they want to prevent the possibility of financial ruin due to one misstep or unforeseen accident.
How Much Umbrella Insurance Should I Have?
When choosing your coverage limits, consider the risks you may face, the value of your assets and the potential loss of future income. An independent insurance agent can help you determine your specific risk factors.
Are There Any Other Requirements?
Umbrella policies are usually not stand-alone policies. You may be required to have an automobile policy with specific liability coverage amounts before you can put an umbrella policy in place.
A neighbor asks you to cut down a tree in your own yard. You refuse, and later a severe wind storm blows the tree down and injures someone in the neighboring house. ♦ Your child gets in a fight at school and injures another student. ♦ You have a pool, and a visitor hurts themselves. ♦ Your teen driver hits a cyclist on their drive to school.
It only takes one serious accident and a resulting lawsuit to put everything you own – and will own – at risk. And it only takes one umbrella policy to help protect it all. If you’re curious about how umbrella insurance might play a role in protecting the life you’ve built or plan to build, contact SLIA today. We look forward to speaking with you soon!