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Is umbrella insurance right for you?

Why put your assets at risk? With an umbrella policy you can protect yourself and your family with a minimal investment.

If you own a home, car, travel internationally or hold investments, you may want to consider expanding your insurance coverage by purchasing a personal umbrella policy, or PUP. Although you might have the “best” coverage with your current insurance plans, there are financial limits and areas, in case of legal action, that may not be covered. This is where umbrella insurance fills in.

Accidents happen all the time, which can lead to lawsuits. In 2013, according to the United States Courts, 63,316 personal injury cases were filed, up almost 11 percent from 2012. Depending on the severity, your financial security could be ruined with a simple misstep. You can take control of your financial situation and assets by purchasing umbrella insurance.

A personal umbrella policy (PUP) provides liability coverage in excess of your current insurance policies and/or to fill in the gaps of those policies. Umbrella insurance typically provides additional lawsuit coverage of at least $1 million, and coverage for lawsuits that are not already covered by your policies in place. It can also provide added coverage for legal defense costs which can be upwards of $100,000. Basically, in the case of an accident, when your current policies are financially exhausted, your umbrella insurance kicks in to pay the rest. Fortunately, umbrella insurance isn’t expensive, and can be as low as $100-$200 per year.

A few scenarios demonstrating why umbrella insurance is an important consideration:

You’re driving in the rain at night and the car in front of you comes to a sudden halt. You try to stop, but hydroplane right into the car, which causes severe damage to the vehicle and driver. Your auto policy covers $300,000 but after vehicle damage, bodily injury and wages lost the total cost of the accident is $400,000. You now have to pay $100,000, which can come out of your pocket, your investments or assets. An umbrella insurance policy would probably cover it. Did you know most umbrella insurance claims were car accident related?

It’s February and your daughter is having a slumber party with her closest friends at your house. There was an icy storm last night, and you’ve shoveled and salted the walkway. As parents arrive to drop off the kids, one parent slips, falls and breaks her leg. Not only does she require a few surgeries, but she is the CEO of a big company and is missing out on a lot of work. The total cost of the accident is $800,000, and your policy only covers $500,000. If you have umbrella insurance, the remaining $300,000 is likely covered, along with any legal defense costs you might have incurred. According to data from Jury Verdict Research, 13% of personal injury liability awards and settlements are $1 million or more.

You’re on a family vacation in Italy, where you rent a car to visit various family members and landmarks. You get in an accident along the way and your auto insurance doesn’t cover you outside the U.S. Out of pocket you could be paying thousands, an additional travel cost for which you weren’t prepared; however, with umbrella insurance, you’re most likely covered.

You’ve worked hard, so it’s important to protect your investments and assets. Why let one accident take that all away? Talk to your independent agent today about how you can update your current policies and determine what’s right for you and your family.

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