Pros and Cons of Umbrella Insurance: Why I Just Bought Some
I have to be honest with you. I am scared to death of being sued. We live in such a litigious society now. It is estimated that over 15 million lawsuits are filed in the United States every year, and over $250 billion is awarded each year in lawsuits. The statistics are completely staggering.
In Arizona, civil lawsuits cost only $80 to file. Many lawsuits go to trial and take several months to complete because they will often include discovery motions, mediation hearings, garnishment hearings, findings, judgments and results that are often appealed or contested. All the time this is going on, lawyer fees are being racked up by both parties.
Are You Vulnerable To Lawsuits?
Are you vulnerable to being sued by someone? You bet you are! Most people think that it can’t happen to them, but if you think long and hard, I bet that you can come up with tons of horrible scenarios where you could be sued for negligence or wrongdoing.
Do you have a teen who is a reckless driver? Do you have handymen workers help you with home repairs or someone mow your lawn for you? Unfortunately, in today’s world, the chances of lawsuits are everywhere and the potential for frivolous claims are high. However, umbrella insurance can help protect you and your assets from being lost in a lawsuit verdict or judgment against you.
What Is Umbrella Insurance?
Umbrella insurance, also called excess liability insurance, is additional insurance coverage above and beyond your normal homeowners insurance or automobile liability insurance. It is an insurance policy which usually insures a person for damages that cost at a minimum of $1 million and up to $10 million or more.
Since it is excess liability insurance, umbrella insurance only goes into effect and pays a claim when your homeowners or automobile insurance coverage has reached its limits. Many people may find that they have to increase their initial homeowners and automobile coverage to meet the minimum requirements of an umbrella policy, but it is a small increase in insurance premiums compared with the amount of coverage purchased.
Do You Need Umbrella Insurance?
Do you need to carry umbrella insurance? Maybe, maybe not. One thing to consider is the minimum level of liability coverage most states requires motorists insure themselves in the case of accidents. For example, in North Carolina, the state requires automobile owners to have a minimum liability insurance coverage for a vehicle accident of $30,000 for bodily injury for one person in an accident, $60,000 bodily injury for two or more people and $25,000 in coverage for property damage.
God forbid you or your loved one was at fault in an automobile accident that badly hurt two or more people. The medical bills alone for a one seriously injured person could quickly eclipse the $60,000 coverage if you only had the minimum amount required by the state’s law let alone a car full. Umbrella insurance protects a person from a catastrophic loss.
What If I Do Not Have Any Assets?
How can I get sued for “everything I’m worth” if I’m not worth very much or anything at all to start with? This is a common question and a typical rationale as to why people do not get umbrella insurance coverage. What they are forgetting is their future income. If you lose a lawsuit and do not have enough assets to cover the judgment, your future wages can be garnished.
An umbrella insurance policy provides fairly cheap protection against a catastrophic lawsuit or judgment. The insurance is broad and covers a wide range of personal liability loss exposure. Everyone no matter how much money they make or how many assets they have is vulnerable to being sued and should consider protecting themselves and their family with an umbrella insurance policy.
Hank Coleman is the founder of Own The Dollar and several other financial websites. He is a freelance writer, entrepreneur, and professional in the government sector. Hank holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration, a Master’s in Finance, and is currently studying for his Certified Financial Planning (CFP) credentials. Be sure to follow him on Twitter.