An Umbrella Policy is an excess personal liability insurance coverage to cover claims in excess of your homeowners, auto, or watercraft policy coverage limits.
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You have basic insurance policies set up for your vehicle and home. But do you know how these policies cover you if various situations arise? Are you covered financially if you cause an accident or someone is injured on your property?
This is where an umbrella policy can provide peace of mind. Learn about what it covers, if you need an umbrella policy, how much it costs, and how Frost & Remer can help you navigate this coverage.
What is an umbrella policy?
An Umbrella Policy is excess personal liability insurance coverage, meaning it covers claims in excess of your homeowners, rented property owned personally, auto, motorcycle, boat and ATV liability policy coverage limits.
It provides extra liability coverage at a low cost. This personal coverage is valuable if you find yourself liable for a claim larger than your homeowners, auto, or boat and personal watercraft insurance would cover.
Umbrella policies can be used for both personal and commercial needs.
Personal vs commercial umbrella policies
Personal and commercial umbrella policies differ in terms of what they provide additional liability coverage for:
- Personal: These policies specifically provide additional liability coverage over and above policies such as your homeowners and personal auto coverage, as described above.
- Commercial: These umbrella policies are meant to provide additional liability coverage over and above policies including business owners, commercial auto, and general liability coverage. This includes coverage for liability claims, such as libel, slander, and false imprisonment.
What does an umbrella policy cover?
An umbrella policy offers additional liability coverage over the limits of your auto and homeowners policies, from $1 million in coverage to higher limits if needed.
It differs from other forms of insurance that protect the policyholder’s property. Instead, it covers injury to others or damage to others’ possessions. This typically includes the following liabilities:
- Bodily injury
- Personal injury
- Property damage
- Landlord liability
If someone is injured on your property or you cause an accident, you could be found legally liable for the resulting expenses, which could include medical or legal bills. Liability coverage can help pay for these expenses, protecting you financially.
The benefits of an umbrella policy cover the policyholder and the members of their family or household. This coverage is applied to the individuals, so provides coverage no matter where they are located.
Examples where an umbrella policy may be helpful
Typically, people will add an umbrella policy to supplement their auto, home, and boat coverage. Below are examples of situations where this might be beneficial, as well as other types of coverage available.
If you or someone in your household is driving and causes an accident that injures several people or injures someone who will need extensive ongoing compensation, your auto insurance liability limits may not be high enough to cover the injured peoples’ medical expenses and lost income because of the injuries.
The added umbrella coverage can protect you from having to pay these expenses out of pocket when your auto insurance reaches its limit.
If you leave a candle burning and your cat knocks it over causing a fire to spread throughout your apartment, it may result in damage to your neighbor’s apartments who share walls with you and extensive damage to your landlord’s property. Your renter’s insurance likely won’t cover the full cost of the damages to your neighbor’s property, whereas your umbrella policy can help to pay those costs.
If you’re operating your boat and cause an accident that leads to seriously injuring another person, such as by hitting a water skier, your boat and personal watercraft insurance liability coverage may not be high enough to pay for the injured person’s ongoing medical expenses and loss of income while they recover. After you reach your boat and personal watercraft insurance limit, the umbrella policy can help cover these expenses.
There are also options to add umbrella coverage for other property or vehicle needs. This could include the following:
- Secondary homes
- Vacation homes
- Rental properties
- Vacant land
- Additional motorized vehicles
- Unlicensed recreational vehicles
- Jet skis
- Uninsured or underinsured motorists
Do I need an umbrella policy?
Some people are more likely to feel a need for this added coverage, while others may choose it just for the peace of mind. Consider your level of risk for being sued. The more likely you are to be sued, the more likely you’ll want the extra coverage an umbrella policy provides.
If your activities put you at a greater risk, you’ll have more reason to want the added liability coverage. This could be the case if for example, you do any of the following:
- Own property
- Rent out property
- Employ staff at your home
- Have an inexperienced driver in the family or household
- Have a pool, hot tub, trampoline, or guns
- Own a dog
- Host large parties
- Serve as a public figure
- Have a large amount of savings or other valuable assets
- Participate in sports where you could injure others
- Post reviews of products, services, and businesses
- Could face liability issues when traveling in other countries
How much does an umbrella policy cost?
An umbrella policy requires that your liability coverage of your auto, home, and boat policies meets a minimum amount. In some cases, you may get the coverage you need by simply increasing the liability coverage of those policies. Otherwise, you may want to increase those limits to the required level and then add umbrella coverage, which provides a good value for its high coverage limit.
According to the Insurance Information Institute, the average umbrella policy with $1 million in coverage will cost about $150 to $300 per year. Going up to a coverage level of $2 million will cost approximately $100 more.
How much do you need?
We recommend that you have at least enough liability coverage to equate to your net worth.
To calculate your net worth, add up the value of your assets, which includes your property, savings, and investment accounts. Assess the amount of liability coverage you have through your existing policies. If this coverage is less than your net worth, buy enough umbrella coverage to total your net worth.
Contact us today to discuss your potential need for an umbrella policy and ask about our Identity Fraud Coverage and Homeowners Insurance.
Schedule a virtual appointment for your full policy review and risk assessment from Frost & Remer. We will make recommendations to help you protect yourself and your assets with affordable coverage.