Ever been to your mechanic and been told you need a new part for your car? And it only cost $799. If you’re like me you don’t know if you need it or not. Isn’t that a hard decision to make when you don’t have enough information? For some of you insurance feels a lot like that. Your insurance agent talks about all these terms you don’t understand and tell you its needed, but you’re not really sure. Today I want to talk about one of those things. A personal umbrella.
I put the umbrella in the same category as a parachute and a hand gun. You’ll likely only need it one time. And if you don’t have it…you probably won’t need it again.
An umbrella is a policy that increases your liability insurance by one million dollars or more. Its built for the bad claim. An at-fault auto accident with injuries. Some one drowns in your swimming pool. Your dog bites a guest at your home. These are a few examples of when an umbrella could be needed.
You are responsible for the damages you cause. And the legal system will make sure you are held accountable. I could talk for a long time about whether our legal system is fair or not. But the reality is we have what we have and its my job to help you understand how to protect yourself in the real world we live in.
If you’re sued and lose and the judgment against you is more than your insurance coverage, that claim is not over for you. Its just over for your insurance carrier. Your insurance will pay their portion and exit the process leaving you alone for the remainder of the claim. I’ve seen those letters and they’re no fun. That last sentence reads “…and we recommend you hire an attorney to represent you for the remainder of the claim.” The next step is called “post judgment discovery” That’s where the plaintiff attorney finds out if you have any assets worth pursuing. If you do, then they hand things off to a collection attorney. Did you know there’s a continuing ed class for attorneys called “Post judgment strategies for collection attorneys”. I’m not making this up.
Umbrellas are not expensive. You can buy a $1 million personal umbrella for as little as $200 per year. My goal here is not to try to sell you more insurance. We make very little money selling umbrella insurance policies. My goal is to protect you from situations like the one where a businessman had to sign the deed over on his 300 acre hobby farm to the collection attorney to settle a wrongful death claim. That should never happen to you. But it certainly could.
Here’s a simple rule. If your personal net worth, defined by the value of everything you own minus what you owe is a bigger number than your auto or home liability limits, then you need an umbrella.
Most people don’t buy an umbrella because it’s never been explained to them properly. If you want to have a confidential conversation about your personal situation just schedule some time on my calendar below and I’d love to help you get this right.