Your Personal Umbrella Policy: A Few ‘Non-Negotiables’

So maybe you’re still on the fence about whether purchasing a personal umbrella policy is a good move for you and your family. The following is a list of “non-negotiables” — that is, these are the exposures your family may have that make having an umbrella policy a must.

If You Have Children
Of course, kids are wonderful. But they sometimes do stupid things or hang out with other kids who do stupid things. Fair enough?

Their conduct often leaves us adults shaking our heads (even while remembering we were all young once). And then there are the rare, but tragic times when something truly terrible happens. Your teenager is involved in a deadly auto accident. A child suffers serious injury while playing in your yard.

Whenever a child is injured, the damages related to the injury, including pain and suffering, may extend for years, leading to more costly settlements and judgments.

If You Have Pets
Injuries from dog bites are one of the most common causes of personal liability claims.
According to the Insurance Information Institute, the cost of such claims continues to rise annually. Policies often cover such claims, but some personal insurance companies restrict coverage for specific breeds.

And while dogs might get the most attention, people also own cats, rodents, reptiles, birds, horses and a multitude of other animals. In January 2018, a woman made national headlines because she attempted to board a commercial flight with her peacock. The point is, any animal you own can potentially cause injury and result in a liability claim.

If You Own Vehicles or Watercraft
By a wide margin, auto accidents are the most common source of liability claims filed against families. But any motorized vehicle — golf cart, tractor, kids’ motorized toy, ATV or watercraft — can seriously injure passengers or pedestrians. A personal umbrella policy can increase the liability coverage in your auto policy or homeowner’s policy.

However, it may be possible to arrange an umbrella so that it also extends coverage over other policies for vehicles like motorcycles, ATVs or watercraft.

If You Own Property
You have personal liability coverage in your homeowner’s policy to cover injuries occurring on your premises (for example, a loose board on your front steps causes someone to slip and fall). But do you also own other property, such as vacant land or a secondary residence? Do you own rental property? Not only can these increase your overall asset exposure, but you must also consider the increased likelihood of a person at one of your properties alleging that your negligence contributed to their injury.

If You Conduct Business
Personal insurance policies often restrict liability coverage for claims arising out of a business activity — for example, if a person is injured while visiting your home for a business meeting or if an auto accident occurs while your vehicle is being used for a business purpose. Such restrictions often hinge on how the policy defines the term “business.” In some cases, the policy may not prove restrictive enough to remove coverage completely for all business-related exposures.

Be aware that your umbrella policy will likely include a definition of “business” and attempt to restrict coverage for such activities. However, a review of the policy with your Trusted Choice® Independent Insurance Agent can help determine if there is coverage for any business activities including those of a member of your household such as a minor child.

Increase Your Protection with an Umbrella
Personal umbrella insurance can prove valuable for most people and their families, not just the affluent. And it’s considered a “non-negotiable” if you have pets, children, motor vehicles, real estate property or business risks. For more information, contact your Trusted Choice® Independent Insurance Agent at West Town Insurance Agency today.

 

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Do You Need Umbrella Coverage?

In today’s economy, everyone is pinching pennies. So why worry about umbrella coverage?  Shouldn’t a home and auto policy leave you adequately covered?

Unfortunately, we live in a world of lawsuits. Large damages can be awarded, be extremely expensive and have long-term financial impact.  Those lawsuits can come from unlikely sources, such as our furry friends.

Take Herschel for instance. Herschel is a much-loved, rather timid labradoodle who enjoys taking naps on the driveway while his owner mows the lawn.

Herschel watched from eight feet away as his neighbor, a 39 year old man, showed off his rollerblading skills to his kids. The man wiped out on the sidewalk in front of Herschel’s house and broke his leg.  He required surgery, costing around $35,000 in medical costs and $18,000 in lost wages.

Fair or not, the man brought a lawsuit against Herschel’s owner, suing for $220,000 in damages. He alleged that Herschel had caused the accident by getting in his way, despite multiple witnesses to the contrary.

But Herschel’s owner was lucky–a jury vindicated Herschel. However, lawsuits such as these can easily exceed the limits on a homeowner’s policy, leaving the insured responsible for the remainder. An umbrella policy would prevent that, giving you an extra $1 million to $5 million in coverage.

Our furry friends can put your assets at risk in other ways as well.   According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, 4.7 million people are bitten by dogs each year, with half of those occurring on the owner’s property.  Dog bites, according to the Insurance Information Institute, account for about a third of all homeowner’s insurance claims, which only cover limited damages.

Protect what you love.  Call us at 252-368-4017 to talk about your umbrella options.

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