When It Rains, It Pours

When It Rains, It Pours

Most people have a great deal of assets, such as a secondary home, recreational vehicles, and boats. Unfortunately, we live in a litigious society.
Therefore, “you need to have enough liability insurance to protect all of your assets if you are sued,” says Carolyn Gorman, vice president of the Insurance Information Institute. “If your net worth is $500,000, you need that much insurance, and possibly more. If you are sued and do not have enough insurance, you will be forced to sell your property to come up with the award.”

Umbrella insurance or personal liability insurance can help shield you from the storm of litigation. It provides individuals with an additional layer of liability protection over and above the coverage found in a homeowner’s or auto insurance policy. Liability protection provides coverage when others are injured or have sustained damage to their property for which you are responsible.

In addition, “you won’t have to face court alone. If you’re sued over an incident covered under your personal umbrella policy, Allstate, for example, will retain and pay for an attorney to represent you in court,” says Paul Leinheiser, personal umbrella policy product manager for Allstate Insurance Co. “Your coverage goes with you everywhere-including outside of the United States. It helps with gaps in coverage.”

Umbrella policies also cover libel, negligence, plagiarism, slander, and defamation of character, which are not covered in standard policies according to WomensFinance.com. To determine if you need a policy, ask yourself the following questions: What do I need to protect? What do I have to lose? What concerns do I have about my children driving? Do I entertain often at home?

“Everyone who has assets to protect will benefit from an umbrella policy. You might think that only people who have substantial assets would need an umbrella policy, but that’s not necessarily so. It’s also essential for a person whose only assets are a home and other personal property because one lawsuit judgment can ruin a family financially,” says Kip Diggs, spokesman for State Farm Insurance.

Individual umbrella policies start at $1 million and can be purchased in increments of $1 million up to $10 million. Stephen McAnena, vice president and personal lines product manager for Liberty Mutual Group, says the cost for a $1 million policy varies by individual, but averages around $300. For more information, visit the Insurance Information Institute Website at www.iii.org.


  • A policy protects individuals who have considerable assets, such as second homes, RVs, boats, and pools.
  • Policies have a “duty to defend” clause requiring the insurance company to provide a lawyer and cover defense costs.
  • Policies cover slander, libel, plagiarism, and other items standard policies do not.