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Umbrella Insurance Basics

Umbrella insurance, often referred to as excess liability insurance, is a way you can protect yourself and your family if you are financially responsible for damages that exceed what your insurance policy covers. They cover damage claims that you, your immediate family, and even your pets may cause.

If you are ever sued, your standard homeowners or auto policy will provide you with some liability coverage, paying for judgments against you and your attorney’s fees, up to a limit set in the policy. However, in our litigious society, you may want to have an extra layer of liability protection. That’s what a personal umbrella liability policy provides.

An umbrella policy kicks in when you reach the limit on the underlying liability coverage in a homeowners, renters, condo or auto policy. It will also cover you for things such as libel and slander.

For about $150 to $300 per year, you can buy a $1 million personal umbrella liability policy. The next million will cost about $75, and $50 for every million after that.

Because the personal umbrella policy goes into effect after the underlying coverage is exhausted, there are certain limits that usually must be met in order to purchase this coverage. Most insurers will want you to have about $250,000 of liability insurance on your auto policy and $300,000 of liability insurance on your homeowner’s policy before selling you an umbrella liability policy for $1 million of additional coverage.

What Is Umbrella Insurance?

Umbrella insurance is a type of insurance that “kicks in” when you are sued for damages that are over and beyond what your primary insurance policy will pay for.

For example, if you are in a car accident and you were determined to be the at-fault driver, the other driver may sue you for damages. If their hospital bills were $300,000 after the accident and your car insurance only pays $100,000, they could bring a lawsuit against you for the additional $200,000. Once your primary policy coverage is exhausted, your umbrella insurance would help you meet any financial obligations that you owe.

Umbrella insurance doesn’t pay for injuries to you or damages to your personal property. It won’t cover property damage or injuries that your business is liable for, injuries or property damage caused while using certain recreational vehicles (e.g., jet ski or an ATV), or criminal acts.

Who Needs Umbrella Insurance?

Theoretically, everyone can benefit from umbrella insurance. However, some individuals may want to carefully consider taking out an umbrella insurance policy. Umbrella insurance is often purchased by people who:

Essentially, if there is any risk that you may be sued, having an umbrella insurance policy in place is a good idea. A big lawsuit can easily deplete your resources and jeopardize your future earnings. When you have umbrella insurance in place, it covers costs that would otherwise drain your savings and other assets or cause you to be in debt for years to come.

How Can I Buy Umbrella Insurance?

Umbrella insurance is usually sold in $1 million increments and can only be purchased if you already have property insurance or auto insurance. You’ll need to purchase a certain amount of coverage with your primary policies before you can purchase an umbrella policy. At the Culbertson Agency, we offer umbrella insurance policies for as low as $225 for a $1 million policy.

Ask your insurer about any exclusions to your umbrella insurance policy and know ahead of time what activities may not be covered. For example, damages caused by a jet ski may not be covered, while damages with a boat may. Know your policy terms and details before signing on the dotted line. Be sure to review yearly so you have an idea of your coverage.

How Much Umbrella Insurance Do I Need?

The standard for purchasing umbrella insurance is at least enough to cover your total net worth, including your income, assets, and savings. Some individuals also include potential income if it’s likely that they will earn a lot more in the future than they are currently earning.

Calculating an accurate amount of umbrella insurance is difficult because it’s impossible to know what a lawsuit may cost you in the future. However, even at the lowest tier, $1 million in coverage is a good start. Discuss with an experienced Southwest Florida umbrella insurance company what the maximum amount you can take out on an umbrella policy is and what the premiums are in comparison.

Contact the Culbertson Agency Now

The Culbertson Agency offers comprehensive umbrella insurance coverage for residents of Southwest Florida. We take pride in providing our customers with excellent customer service, flexible payment plans and cost-effective monthly premiums, 24-hour access to a licensed insurance professional, and secure account management and easy online payment.

Reach out to us today for more information about how to purchase an umbrella insurance policy tailored to your specific needs at (239) 210-7710 (Naples) or (239)-210-7700 (Fort Myers). Serving the Fort Myers, Naples, Cape Coral, and Marco Island areas.