Umbrellas Aren’t Just for Rainy Days

Do you ever think about your personal liability exposure? 

Trust me, if you really thought about it like I often do in our office, you might never leave the house (to stay put and simply listen to Travis ponder why does it only rain on me, too?)

If you’ll remember in a prior post, we referenced older houses and their wonderful character. In addition to character, though, older homes do come with greater exposure to risks of injury to guests, visitors, or passersby. City of Harrisburg residents with older homes are open to greater insurance risks, as well as the fact that city living means more people per capita are in one area. That’s more possibility for claims against you.

A great way to eliminate some of this liability uncertainty is to add an additional layer of personal liability coverage through a Personal Umbrella Policy. A Personal Umbrella Policy is specialized liability coverage that gives you additional coverage over any underlying, listed policy. Umbrella policies are affordable, simple enough to acquire and create a buffer for individuals to protect their family and assets from being affected by legal proceedings.

Personal Liability

What exactly is personal liability coverage? Personal liability provides protection for an insured against a situation involving legal action. For example, this kicks in when someone were to injure themselves on your property (like on a sidewalk…yes, the property owner is responsible), a city street fender bender,  or if you are walking your dog around the neighborhood and it bites someone.

A homeowners or personal automobile policy will typically include a limit of liability, that is selected by the insured, usually through a conversation with their agent about their personal exposure.

Underlying Limits

Varying limits of liability are available for both home and auto policies. This is your first line of defense against a personal liability claim. Each insurance carrier that offers personal liability coverage mandates that the underlying limits for any policy that will be covered by the Personal Umbrella Policy be at a specific levels. This varies from carrier to carrier, but I often work with carriers that require your personal liability limits to be at least $300,000 per occurrence.

The umbrella policy ensures coverage in circumstances which the claim or lawsuit amount to be paid is higher than a home or auto policy provides limits for. If an umbrella policy is not in place, the insured becomes responsible for paying anything over their home and auto policy limits, out of pocket.

Essentially, the umbrella policy meets the underlying home or auto policy limit at its maximum and extends liability coverage an additional $1,000,000 (or more depending on the limit you chose).

Why not secure the extra coverage?

Often times I hear, “I don’t have anything anyone could sue me for”. To that I say, I’ll let you in on a little secret I’ve learned in this business: anyone can sue anyone, any time, for anything. You don’t have to be a millionaire to be sued like one. A healthy conversation with your agent would provide a multitude of examples demonstrating where and why this coverage is a smart one to secure.

A Personal Umbrella Policy is the best way to extend your coverage for those serious claims you hope will never come.