By Ken Martin
Ahhhhh! I love summer in Washington. I’ve done a bit of traveling and I would hold our summers up against anywhere else in the world. Lack of humidity, not too many bugs and everyone seems to have a bounce in their step.
As great as it is around here, one of the first things I think about for summer is……. That’s right, you guessed it, Umbrella policies. No, not the things that keep rain off your head, I’m talking about Liability Umbrellas. Don’t have one or even know what one is? I’ll give you a quick explanation.
An Umbrella policy extends the liability above the limits of your Auto, Homeowners, Boat, Motorcycle, etc. policies. For example: You’re driving past a park when you notice an incredibly athletic dog catching a Frisbee, you gander a bit too long at the super-dog, as a pedestrian is crossing the street at the crosswalk. The pedestrian is checking his/her phone as people are prone to do in this day and age, and then “Whappo”. You hit the pedestrian causing significant bodily injury. No worries because you have Auto insurance that covers you for this, but what if your coverage limit isn’t enough? All Auto policies have limits, some higher than others. If you don’t have enough, the person that you hit, along with their team of lawyers are going to put you “under the microscope” and if they determine that you have assets, earning potential or the ability to get your hands on money, they’re going to sue you for as much as they can. That’s where the Umbrella policy kicks in. It pays an additional $1 million, $2 million or more on top of your underlying policy.
So why does summer make me think of Umbrella’s? Because so much is happening in the summer. You’re boating (did you see that swimmer?), having friends and their children over to your house for a BBQ (did you over-serve your guest alcohol?), taking the motorhome out (and forgetting the side mirrors stick out an extra foot and hitting that tall guy on the side of the road that was waiting for the crosswalk).
I was just talking with a customer last week that has a coworker that hit a bicyclist. The coworker was/is really “sweating it” because he didn’t have an umbrella and is unsure if his Auto policy has enough coverage. He’s a smart guy/good job with a good driving record that made one small mistake that has the potential for far reaching implications.
You get the idea. If you don’t, or your just like to talk about it more, give my agency a call and we can give you a quote (usually $200 -$400/year) and further discuss your options.