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What is a personal umbrella liability policy?

Auto Insurance

By Romana King | May 30, 2016

You work hard and earn a decent living. Maybe you’ve got a nice cabin in the mountains or an RV you take camping on the weekend complete with an ATV or two. Or maybe you’ve invested in a swimming pool or trampoline in your backyard to keep the kids entertained. Or maybe you’re a traveller and like to escape to warmer climates. You’ve likely got home insurance RV or cottage insurance and you’re always protected with travel insurance. You’re responsible. You’re covered right?

Our potential for financial loss isn’t just about what we own; it’s also impacted by the  lifestyle we lead. Truth be told living a bigger better life can often-times put you at a greater risk of being sued for larger and larger sums of money. For example someone slips and falls on your pool deck

Say for instance someone is using your ATV and gets hurt or slips and falls on your pool deck or you’re in an accident while abroad. These are all situations where someone could sue you. While basic liability coverage is included with your regular home car and other types of insurance it may not be enough.

What if you were faced with a lawsuit for a larger sum of money than what your existing policy coverage provides?

Fortunately there is another option: a personal umbrella liability policy. Known as umbrella coverage this type of coverage is a highly effective and economical way to get extra protection your lifestyle may require.

What is umbrella insurance and what does it cover?

Umbrella insurance provides additional liability coverage. It is liability insurance that is in excess of the coverage limits offered in other standard insurance policies you may carry . For instance your home insurance may carry a $1-million liability coverage maximum. This coverage kicks in and saves you the court or medical costs should someone decide to sue you after injuring themselves on your property or after using your personal property.

But is $1-million enough? A  2006 court case where a Florida woman was awarded USD$11.3-million in damages after she sued a Louisiana woman for defamation using the Internet highlights how quickly awards and costs can add up in legal cases. What’s worse is that coverage from most homeowner and car insurance policies will actually exclude certain forms of liability including false arrest libel slander and invasion of privacy. That means you could be facing a massive lawsuit with large legal bills will little or no financial protection if you don’t have umbrella insurance coverage.

Thankfully umbrella liability policies are relatively cheap starting at just $100 per year when added to an existing car and house policy. Of course this umbrella policy won’t help you if your house or car is destroyed in a fire or flood (that’s what your home or car insurance if for) but it will kick in when you’re sued.

Even better a liability umbrella policy gives you worldwide coverage for things you wouldn’t normally get with your existing policies. For instance this extra coverage will also give you protection you if you’re named in a lawsuit while acting as an officer or director for a non-profit organization. This will also include any motor vehicle accident or injury to others when travelling.

A personal umbrella policy is by far one of the best values when it comes to protecting you and your assets. For most policies coverage limits start at $1 million and go up to $5 million in coverage all at very affordable pricing. What’s better is that you don’t pay a deductible should you need to use your add-on umbrella policy only the deductible associated with the underlying insurance policy .

Talk to your independent insurance broker about topping up your existing coverage with a liability umbrella policy if you own property invest in real estate own recreational vehicles (such as boats or snowmobiles) spend time working for free for non-profit organizations travel frequently or volunteer in your community. It’s better to be prepared than to wonder if you’re protected.

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