At the mention of umbrellas, you likely think of protection from falling water drops. Your independent insurance agent would like to remind you the proper “insurance umbrella” could also protect you from a “rain” of lawsuits. Personal liability claims against homeowners and drivers are increasing in frequency and severity. The question is simple: Are your current limits of liability on your homeowners, boat, and personal auto and any commercial policies you carry adequate?
And accidentally injuring a single person who then receives a major jury award is not your only risk. Whether an accident occurs on the road, at a home party, or during an outing on the boat, it can result in injuries to multiple people, creating multiple threats of lawsuit or risks of property damage. For example, a personal auto policy liability limit for damage to property of others in an amount of $50,000 may seem adequate if you strike a single vehicle, but what if you are found liable for a multi-car pileup? Suddenly that $50,000 may seem more like a down payment than total protection.
Far too many people are still relying on outdated liability protection limits. Food, gasoline and medical care aren’t the only items that cost more today than yesterday. In 2009 alone, according to the National Law Journal, premises liability awards increased 16.4%, and motor vehicle awards jumped almost 40%.
One solution is to raise your current policy limits as high as possible for your auto, home, apartment, or boat. But another option is an excess liability policy or “umbrella.”
Umbrella policies are cost-effective methods of significantly increasing limits of personal liability. Be careful, when considering this option, that you understand the difference between a true umbrella and the often less-expensive alternative known as an “excess liability policy.” If the excess policy is less expensive, it is often because such policies are designed simply to provide higher limits exclusively to a limited number of exposures, such as auto. It is far preferable to consider an umbrella, which is designed with broader coverages that extend protection over all of your exposures, often even beyond your underlying coverage. Since umbrella coverage can vary in both breadth of coverage, pricing and availability for your exposures, Your agent always stands ready to offer advice and a comprehensive review of your current insurance coverages and needs.
March is National Umbrella Month. Schedule a review today. Learn how an umbrella liability policy could become a key to your overall insurance program. Because when it comes to umbrellas, it’s better for you to get caught in the rain than to find your vital financial protection is “all wet.”