Question from Desmond H. of Fishers:
All this crazy weather and the commercials asking people if they’re covered for a certain situation has got me thinking: How do I prepare for the worst?
Response from Jamie Ianigro:
Those commercials have lot of people thinking. Insurance prices have stopped dropping, and now is the time to lock in a great rate with the best coverage available. I always recommend meeting with your independent insurance agent to make sure you’re completely protected.
The big thing I want to touch on from your question is preparing for the worst. Adding an umbrella policy (also known as a catastrophe policy) is easily the best way to get on track with that goal. An umbrella policy is really all about having the peace of mind to know that your family and assets are protected.
There are many ways to end up with an umbrella claim, but the most common umbrella claim is an auto accident involving multiple injuries and very costly medical bills. The other common claim is an incident on your property that results in injury. Medical and legal costs can eat up the underlying limits of your homeowners, auto, boat or motorcycle policy pretty quickly. Your umbrella policy or your personal assets cover these costs when your normal policy limits are exhausted.
Your independent insurance agent will be able to help you settle on a level of coverage that you are comfortable with. Most people should be pretty comfortable with an umbrella limit of $1 million, but limits exceeding $10 million are available if you are looking for superior protection.
I don’t want to say that umbrella claims are unpreventable, but they are the type of claims that happen no matter how prepared you are. There are some things that make a claim more likely, such as having a pool, living on a lake, having a young driver, or owning a boat/ATV/snow mobile (basically anything fun). Let’s go through a claim scenario to show you how an umbrella works:
Scenario #1: The insured’s son was driving his car on a short road trip with a friend, the claimant. The car drifted off the road and into a phone pole when the son fell asleep at the wheel. The passenger was hospitalized for over a month with broken bones and internal injuries. The hospitalization was followed by some time in a wheelchair, but he was able to walk again after six months of physical therapy. This claim cost $800,000 with $300,000 coming from the auto limits and $500,000 coming from the umbrella limits.