Protect yourself with umbrella insurance

| May 18, 2018
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You work hard to achieve your dreams, so it makes sense to insure yourself, your family, and your assets with the ultimate level of protection. That’s where umbrella insurance comes in. Umbrella insurance is an extension of your auto or homeowners policies—it acts like a second layer of liability protection.

In an accident with serious injuries, litigation costs can add up quickly. An umbrella policy can help cover defense costs, attorney fees, and medical expenses—costs that might not be covered by your auto or home policies.

Here are five actual claims involving umbrella policies:

Claim #1

A babysitter left an infant unattended in a walker. The infant toppled the walker, struck her head on the floor, and suffered brain damage. The parents of the infant sued the teenage babysitter and her parents. The courts awarded the infant's parents $11 million.

Claim #2

An insured's daughter hated her math teacher and made several "disparaging" and false remarked about the teacher online. The teacher sued the girl's parents for personal injury and received $750,000.

Claim #3

A 28-year old man dove into his friend's above-ground pool and struck his head on the bottom, becoming a quadriplegic as a result. He sued both the homeowner and the pool manufacturer. The court found the homeowner to be 60% responsible and the pool manufacturer to be 40% at fault, and awarded the man $10 million.

Claim #4

The insured's tenant claimed that she became ill from carbon monoxide poisoning resulting from a faulty furnace in her residence. The tenant claimed permanent brain damage and demanded $750,000.

Claim #5

A couple hosted a party for their teenage children. They did not provide any alcohol, but some of their guests brought some with them to the party. After leaving the party, one of the guests was severely injured in an auto accident, and the injury was attributed to consuming alcohol at the couple's home. The case went to the state Supreme Court, which decided that anyone who sells or furnishes alcohol to a minor is responsible for the minor's injuries, as well as any injuries caused by the minor. The court maintained that the homeowners should have prevented their underage guests from consuming alcohol on the premises. Both their homeowners and personal umbrella policy limits were paid.

Your umbrella policy kicks in when your primary policy benefits have been exhausted or in situations that aren’t covered by your primary policies. For example, if you have $300,000 of liability coverage on your auto policy and a $1 million umbrella policy, your total auto liability coverage increases to $1.3 million.

In an accident with serious injuries, litigation costs can add up quickly. An umbrella policy can help cover defense costs, attorney fees, and medical expenses—costs that might not be covered by your auto or home policies. Give us a call at 509-327-1658 to learn more about umbrella coverage.

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