Insurance for Stick Figures - If It's Not Raining Now, Why Do I Need an Umbrella Policy?
What is a Personal Umbrella Liability Policy (PUL)? Basically, a PUL will provide you with an additional amount of liability coverage over and above the coverage you have on an underlying policy. Underlying policies usually include your auto insurance and your home insurance at a minimum. You might also have coverage for your toys, such as a boat, motorcycle, ATV, motorhome, etc. Additional properties, a rental home, a vacation property or land that you have may also be covered under a PUL.
Let's take a look at some reasons you may consider adding a PUL to your personal protection plan...
New driver. Drivers with little experience increase the possibility that you could have a claim made against you. Having a PUL could help protect your assets in the event a large claim is made against you. The PUL will apply for all drivers in the home, not just the young drivers. If you already have a PUL and a driver in your home gets newly licensed, contact your PUL insurer to notify them of the new driver.
What about those social media posts? You leave an online review and get sued by the contractor for loss of business. What if your child receives an inappropriate text and forwards it. Technology allows us to express our opinions and thoughts to a wide audience with little effort. Unfortunately, that means that more people could claim injury or damages from your online activity.
Fun in the sun. Pools are great during the Summer heat, but with the refreshing coolness, they also bring exposure to significant risks. Trampolines can also lead to life changing injuries for your guests. Head and neck injuries can cause serious injuries and lead to significant claim settlements. Make sure when applying for a PUL, you disclose all information about pools and trampolines you may have. Failure to provide underwriting information could cause problems when a claim is submitted.
Your volunteer work. You do your best to contribute to your community and lend a helping hand when you can. Many times, as we volunteer, we may be in unfamiliar settings or doing tasks we are not fully or properly trained to do. A PUL can help protect you if you are responsible for damages or injuries caused while performing your good deeds.
Coaching youth sports can be rewarding, exhilarating and exhausting. You volunteer coach for a local youth sports team, you have them on the practice field and a storm comes out of nowhere and the children are injured. You might be held liable for not pulling the players off the field soon enough. Or maybe you've allowed them to use equipment that wasn't safe which resulted in an injury.
More miles equals more risk. Maybe you have a long commute to work, or perhaps you like to spend every weekend at camp that is a 2 hour drive away. Whatever the reason, the more miles you drive, the more likely you are to have an accident. Having the proper liability limits on your policy plus a PUL will make you better prepared in the event of an accident.
We all love our dogs, but our dogs may not love everyone. The most expensive dog related claim I ever handled involve a 100 pound Golden Retriever. He was a very friendly dog, great with kids, wouldn't hurt anyone. Not intentionally. This friendly dog was just saying hello to an elderly neighbor when he knocked her down and the neighbor suffered a broken hip. There were complications with the surgery and before she was out of the hospital, the claim was already into six figures.
Your home away from home. You have a camp that you love to spend time at every weekend, but what is going on when you're not there? Are there people on your property? Could they get injured and make a claim against you? Yes they can. "But I have No Tresspassing Signs and Keep Out posted" you say. That may help you defend against a claim, but you still may have to have a lawyer defend you. And those signs are no guarantee that you wouldn't have some duty to protect people from getting injured.
Not everyone needs a Personal Umbrella Liability policy. Set up a review with your insurance professional to discuss your unique situation and decide if a PUL is right for you.