Okay, you have a policy for your home and the cars driven by your family. You have just the right policy for the apartment you rent out to others as well as special coverage for your boating excursions. Your homeowners policy even has a special, added coverage to handle the business that your spouse runs out of your home. Yes, it looks like you can breathe a sigh of relief and be confident that you have all the coverage you need. Or should you have an umbrella? An umbrella is the term for a liability policy that fits over your primary policies on an excess basis (and sometimes provides protection that is not available under your primary coverage).
Not in the case of carrying umbrella coverage. Umbrellas are designed to be carried over a person's primary or underlying liability coverage. A person's primary coverage is typically part of his or her personal automobile and homeowner's coverage. Primary refers to the fact that in the event of a loss, the liability portion of your auto or homeowner coverage is the first to respond. Umbrellas or excess liability policies respond to an eligible loss only after the primary insurance has paid its limit.
It's quite possible that your primary insurance limits provide more coverage than you'll ever need. However, circumstances could involve a type of loss that is not completely covered by a primary policy. For instance, your newly licensed child is driving the family car and slides on an icy highway. He ends up causing a chain collision damaging several cars and injuring a dozen drivers and their passengers. If you don't have enough primary coverage, any shortage may have to come out of your personal assets.
How much you own is irrelevant when deciding how much to purchase.
The amount of ones assets isn't taken into consideration when a judgement is handed down. In a case where a $2 million judgement is made and you have a $1 million umbrella, you would lose all of your assets and still owe money. Your future income, if you have to make settlement payments over time, could easily be jeopardized. The same goes for any inheritance you may receive (it could easily be seized for payment), not to mention any inheritance you may want to leave your children.
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