Your traditional homeowner’s insurance doesn’t cover every possibility. Floods, earthquakes, and excessive damage aren’t always part of your policy but can present very real dangers. To cover these potential problems, you may be considering umbrella insurance for homeowners in addition to your regular policy.
Although it sounds easy enough to understand, umbrella insurance can be confusing to purchase if you don’t know what you’re looking for.
WHAT IS UMBRELLA INSURANCE FOR HOMEOWNERS?
At its most basic, umbrella insurance is extra liability insurance that goes above and beyond what’s provided for in your traditional policy.
It is designed to protect you from major claims and lawsuits and, as a result, protects your assets into the future.
Umbrella insurance works in two ways:
Protection for damages over and above the policy limits on your regular policy kicks in once your regular policy limits are exhausted. If, for example, you have policy limits of $100,000 and your claim is going to cost $150,000 to take care of, your umbrella insurance would kick in for the last $50,000.
Claims that aren’t covered under your traditional insurance may be covered under your umbrella policy, such as libel, false arrest, or claims on rental units you own.
WHO NEEDS UMBRELLA INSURANCE FOR HOMEOWNERS?
Umbrella insurance is not required for homeowners to purchase. However, many homeowners elect to add it as personal protection against claims over and above their regular coverage.
You may want to consider adding umbrella insurance to your homeowner’s insurance policy if you:
Have significant savings or other assets
Worry about liability claims that may arise from travel abroad
Own things that can lead to liability claims, such as a swimming pool, a trampoline, or a dog
Engage in activities that could lead to claims, such as coaching sports; volunteering; posting reviews online; serve on the board of a nonprofit; rent property to others; or engage in activities where you could injure others, such as hunting, skiing, or surfing
In reality, umbrella insurance can benefit anyone that owns a property, as it can help cover claims that may arise from lawsuits or damages that you would have to otherwise pay out of pocket.
If you can afford the monthly premiums, umbrella insurance is an investment that can protect you for years to come.
WHAT DOES UMBRELLA INSURANCE COVER?
As you can see from the wide-ranging cases where umbrella insurance may be necessary, it can cover you in a variety of situations.
Umbrella insurance for homeowners can provide you coverage for issues that arise on your property and off it, including:
Bodily injury liability: This covers the cost of damage to another person’s body, including injuries from a car accident; injuries that arise if your dog bites someone; and injuries sustained by someone who falls on your property.
Property damage liability: Covers damage to others’ property, including damage to vehicles and property from car accidents; property damage caused by a pet; and accidental damage your child causes to school property.
Owners of rental property: This covers bodily and property damage that may arise on a property you rent to someone else, such as a tenant tripping over a broken step and getting hurt, or your tenant’s pet injuring someone and you being held liable.
Lawsuits: Coverage also can be available if you are sued for libel, slander, false arrest, malicious prosecution, mental anguish, or other personal liability situations.
AN EXAMPLE OF UMBRELLA INSURANCE COVERAGE
Imagine you are in an auto accident somewhere in your hometown, and you are found to be at fault for the property and bodily damage of the other driver.
This accident causes $400,000 of damage that must be covered.
You have auto insurance with policy limits of $200,000. Where does the other $200,000 come from?
If you have umbrella insurance, your umbrella insurance covers that additional $200,000. If you don’t have umbrella insurance, however, you could be ordered to pay that $200,000 out of your own pocket and assets.