Protect yourself before you wreck yourself (my attempt to use some Ice Cube lyrics in a blog post), or your nest egg may be buried in the wreckage. There are three ways that many people believe they can get rich quick: 1) inheritance, 2) hitting the lottery, and 3) LITIGATION. That’s right, that neighbor of yours that comes to your barbecue and has too many cocktails and falls on your driveway? He could sue you. Have a teenage driver or a pool? Many accidents can happen in which someone may try to benefit off of your hard-earned savings. Just ask Tom Hanks, it’s happening to him! Do I think everyone is out to get you? Of course not! But you need to protect yourself. And here is the good news, there is a cheap answer that can offer you big time protection. It’s called Personal Umbrella Liability Insurance.
Personal umbrella liability insurance, or umbrella insurance, kicks in when you reach the underlying liability limits on your homeowner’s, condo, rent, or auto policies. It can ever cover you for such things as libel and slander. In today’s extremely litigious society, I think an umbrella liability policy is a must-have for anyone with $250,000 or more in assets.
Important Info About Umbrella Policies*:
- 13% of personal injury liability settlements and awards are $1 million or more
- An estimated 1 in 5 families with over $5 million do not have umbrella policies
- An average cost of about $380 per year can provide $1 to $2 million of protection
- Auto and home policy liability coverage rarely exceeds $500,000
- There are minimum liability limits that one must have on property and casualty insurance to get umbrella policies
You have a trampoline in the backyard that your kids and their friends often play on together. One day, Timmy from across the street falls off of the trampoline and breaks both of his legs. Timmy’s dad is a well-known personal injury attorney and decides to sue you. Your homeowner’s policy has a liability coverage limit of $400,000. Timmy’s dad sues you for $750,000. If he wins the case, you will need to come up with $350,000. However, if you have an umbrella policy for $1 million, your umbrella policy will cover the rest of the lawsuit settlement and you won’t need to deplete your savings. For a couple hundred bucks a year, it is a must-have for responsible families!
What is covered under an umbrella policy:
- Personal injury or property damage caused by you, members of your family, or hazards on your property for which you are legally liable. This includes what are called “attractive nuisances” such as swimming pools and trampolines.
- Personal liability coverage for occurrences that take place off your premises. For example, if your dog bites a neighbor.
- An additional layer of protection for your vehicles, beyond your auto insurance.
- Protection against slander, libel, wrongful eviction, or false arrest.
- Lawyer fees when you have to defend yourself.
For a few hundred dollars a year, you can protect your family and your future. If you have substantial assets -or own a pool, trampoline, jet skis, have teenage drivers, etc.- make sure that you aren’t opening yourself up to the risk of someone using you as their get rich quick scheme. Protect yourself. Don’t wreck yourself.