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Umbrella insurance refers to a liability insurance policy that protects the assets and future income of the policyholder, above and beyond the standard limits set on their primary homepolicies. Typically, an umbrella policy is pure liability coverage over and above the coverage afforded by the regular policy, and is sold in increments of one million dollars. The term "umbrella" is used because it covers liability claims from all policies underneath it, such as autos and homeowners policies. For example, if you have an auto insurance policy with liability limits of $500,000 and a Homeowners policy with a limit of $300,000, then with a million dollar umbrella, your limits become in effect, $1,500,000 on the auto policy and $1,300,000 on a homeowners liability claim. Umbrella insurance provides broad insurance beyond traditional home and auto. It provides additional liability coverage above the limits of your homeowner's, auto, and boat insurance policies.
Lets start by dispensing with many of the myths surrounding umbrella liability coverage. First, it is not just for the rich. Nor is it too complicated to coordinate with your existin ginsurance like your homeowners policy. Umbrella insurance is so named because it acts like an umbrella, sitting on top of your auto and homeowners liability policies to provide extra protection. (Even if you don't own a home, remember that you still need renters insurance to cover both your liability and your personal property).
If you're unsure whether an umbrella policy is necessary, here are some examples of where umbrella coverage often comes into play:
An auto accident in which you are sued under your auto insurance policy.
Your neighbor slips and falls on your property, and you're sued under your homeowners insurance.
A natural disaster in which another person's property is damaged by, say, a tree on your property crashing down on their vehicle or home. This usually falls into the, "I thought that was covered by my homeowners policy" category.
Your auto and homeowners policies have at least some liability insurance that would be used to settle legal claims. But what if a settlement (or judgment, if it goes to court) is $800,000 and you only have $300,000 of liability insurance? The insurer would pay its $300,000, but where are you going to get the other $500,000? Virtually everything you own would be fair game to pay off the debt. The only good news is that some states protect certain assets (like your home) from seizure.
Umbrella liability insurance pays $1 million, $2 million and sometimes even $5 million or more of a claim, on top of what your basic policies will pay. Youre usually able to set the amount. For the protection you get, umbrella liability coverage is not very expensive. Premiums are usually $200 to $300 a year for $1 million worth of coverage. The cost depends on such criteria as the amount of coverage, the insurance company issuing the policy and your own "personal risk factors" (such as the number of traffic tickets youve gotten in the past few years, and possibly your credit report).
If you're considering a Personal Umbrella policy to plug the holes of your current coverage, give us a call today. We can set up an affordable plan for you that not only covers your needs and concerns but is customized to your lifestyle and surroundings.
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