If you’re sued for damages that exceed your primary insurance liability limits, an umbrella policy helps pay what you owe.
Accidents happen. That’s why you buy liability insurance: So you can avoid financial ruin if you accidentally cause major injuries or property damage to others. The problem is, your insurance isn’t perfect, either. That’s where a personal umbrella insurance policy comes in.
Think of umbrella insurance as a way to safeguard your savings and other assets. If you’re sued for damages that exceed the liability limits of your car insurance, homeowners insurance or some other coverage types, an umbrella policy helps pay what you owe. In some cases it provides coverage that’s not included in the base insurance policies.
So what does personal umbrella insurance cover? What are the common claims that would fall under umbrella coverage?
1. Defense costs
If someone sues you, you normally pay lawyer fees and processing expenses. These costs can quickly add up, even totaling hundreds of thousands of dollars for a single trial.
Umbrella coverage can step in to pay these fees as you defend yourself in court.
If you are found at fault, the remainder of umbrella coverage not used for defense costs may then help pay for the associated liability expense you owe.
2. Teen drivers
If you have a teen driver on your auto policy, you should consider additional umbrella coverage. Your required auto liability insurance may not always be enough in the case of a serious accident where you or your teen driver are at fault. Adding umbrella coverage boosts your auto liability limit to protect against these increased risks.
3. Intoxicated party attendee
Imagine this scene: You host a party at your house and one of your guests drinks too much and then drives home intoxicated. He causes an accident on his way home from your party. Depending on the state you live in, you could be partially liable for his expenses. A lawyer could claim that you over-served him alcohol, didn’t offer him a place to stay for the night, or didn’t confiscate his keys so he couldn’t drive home. One of the most surprising and expensive liability claims people find themselves in is indirect liability. Umbrella coverage can help protect against this when homeowners’ likely wouldn’t.
4. Dog bites
You take your dog out for a walk, and another dog upsets him. He and the dog get into a fight, and your dog bites that dog. He also bites the other dog’s owner, who is trying to separate the dogs.
This would cause bodily injury both to the owner and the dog. If your dog bit first, you could be on the line for medical expenses, lost wages, and even pain and suffering. These may not be covered by homeowners insurance, so umbrella coverage could step in to pay for the costs.
5. Homeowners liability
Umbrella coverage can raise your limit for the liability on your home and property as well. You have a birthday party for your son and his friend falls off the trampoline. You lend your lake house to a friend for the weekend and they get injured. A tree in your yard falls over and crushes your neighbor’s car. These are typically covered under your homeowners liability insurance. But, if the cost is greater than your homeowners insurance limit, umbrella insurance can offer additional coverage.
Umbrella insurance is there to help you defend yourself in the case of false arrest, imprisonment, defamation, or eviction/malicious prosecution. It can also help pay for you to regain your reputation and fight back in certain cases as well.
Umbrella insurance is typically the only insurance that will cover these kinds of situations.
7. Pain and suffering
If you are found at-fault for some sort of incident, you can also be sued for “pain and suffering.” This is an additional cost outside of the person’s bills and expenses that relates to the psychological stress that resulted as a cause of the incident and is one of the costliest liability expenses. It can be hundreds of thousands if not millions of dollars in some cases. Umbrella insurance can help cover these costs, especially since the minimum umbrella limit is $1 million.
Someone that you serve through a charitable or religious organization can come after you for negligence or inappropriate behavior. Although some charitable organizations will help pay for this, the individual can still come after you directly.
An Umbrella policy can help protect you and your assets from unexpected liability expenses including bodily injury, personal injury, loss of wages, pain and suffering, and defense costs. If you are in the Tampa Bay area and would like to schedule a personal consultation about Umbrella or any other insurances, contact Jaffe Tilchin at 813-960-5293.