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Do you need an umbrella?

If you drive a car, you probably have auto insurance. If you own a home, you have homeowners insurance. So what is umbrella insurance for? Hint: it’s not insurance for your umbrellas!

Umbrella insurance is a type of additional liability coverage that extends beyond the limits of other policies, and it may be the most under-utilized product in an agent ’s insurance arsenal.

How does it work and who needs it?  We’ll tell you all you need to know!

What is umbrella insurance?

Essentially, an umbrella insurance policy is an extra layer of liability insurance that extends beyond the limits of auto, home, or boat insurance policies. Umbrella insurance is designed to pick up where your insureds’ other policies leave off and protect their assets.

What does umbrella insurance cover?

The liability portion of a property or auto insurance policy typically covers a variety of scenarios. For example, if someone falls down the stairs at your house and decides to sue you, your property

liability would help cover the costs. If you are responsible for an auto accident , the personal liability portion of your auto insurance would help pay for that.

Umbrella insurance expands upon standard liability offered by those policies, but typically covers other scenarios that they do not. While coverage certainly can vary from company to company, an umbrella policy usually covers anything that isn’t explicitly excluded in the policy.

You can typically break down umbrella insurance coverage into the following categories:

Bodily Injury Liability Coverage: This generally refers to bodily harm, sickness, disease, or death caused to the other party involved due to an accident and that you are legally responsible/liable for.

Property Damage Liability Coverage: This generally means physical damage to, destruction of or loss of use to someone else’s tangible property that you caused and are legally responsible/liable for as a result of some type of accident.

Personal Injury Coverage: This can provide coverage in the event you are sued for libel, slander,  defamation of character, false arrest, etc.

Coverage for Legal/Defense Costs: This would provide for court and legal fees and other related costs. While some aspects of a standard property policy can provide liability coverage for incidents that occur away from your home, umbrella coverage may be applicable anywhere in the world for people covered under the policy.

Umbrella insurance can also extend coverage beyond just the policyholder to other members of your household or family.

Who should have umbrella insurance?

Generally, the idea is that if the total value of all of your assets (i.e. home, savings, car, investments) is greater than the liability limits of your insurance policies, you should have umbrella insurance. This idea is intended to make sure that you have enough protection to cover your assets in the event of a lawsuit.

Even if your assets don’t exceed your standard insurance policy limits, you can still be sued for an amount greater than those limits. For this reason, looking at the total value of assets compared to one’s current insurance is only part of the equation. Add to this the potential cost of defense. An umbrella policy will cover the cost of defense whenever its coverage is triggered by a claim.

Another consideration to take into account is the level of risk. If you are a landlord with multiple properties, or you have a teen driver in your household, the risk of being sued for losses caused by those factors is higher.

How much does umbrella insurance cost?

As with most types of insurance, the amount of annual premium depends on the chosen level of  coverage, as well as other rating factors that go into determining risk.

Having said that, umbrella insurance is usually more affordable when compared to other types of insurance. This is because most insurance companies – including Germania – require insureds to have other underlying insurance policies (like auto and property) before they will issue an umbrella. Therefore, it is usual to get a high amount of coverage for a comparatively low premium.

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