Friday, April 1, 2011

Umbrella Coverage – Part 2

Here is Part 2 about Umbrella Insurance - I'm sure your clients were on the edges of their seats learning about everything we had posted in Part 1!! Remember you can always direct your questions about coverage to the personal lines department at Tague Alliance! In part 2, we continue our discussion of how umbrella policies work. Umbrella vs. Excess Coverage A traditional umbrella offers broader protection, covering primary policies as well as a variety of, typically, uncovered exposures. For instance, you may have to go to court after being accused of slandering another person. The liability section of your homeowners policy may not cover this type of loss, called personal injury. An umbrella policy might include coverage for personal injury, so the loss is covered. You may also need a traditional umbrella to handle odd situations such as hobbies or activities that may increase the likelihood of facing liability losses. For example: • • you have an in-home hobby of training guard dogs and a neighbor's child is attacked • • you publish a newsletter on the Internet covering local or state politicians and one issue wrongly accuses a state senator of committing a crime • • You collect rare instruments and, as a part of the hobby, you also repair and restore such property for other people. One day you drop an antique mandolin which shatters when it hits your garage's concrete floor Generally, umbrellas provide coverage for any amount of a loss that exceeds the primary policy's deductible. However, when handling a loss that is not covered by primary insurance, a special kind of deductible called a self-insured retention (SIR) may apply. An SIR is the dollar amount you have to pay before the umbrella coverage is triggered. Of course, umbrellas don't always work as named. Your policy may just provide additional amounts of coverage to supplement existing protection. This is how an excess policy performs. Excess policies respond the same way as a primary policy. In such cases, an umbrella may "follow the underlying coverage." This means that the umbrella covers ONLY the situations handled by its underlying coverage. Only a careful evaluation of the actual policy wording will reveal the extent of the additional protection. The best way to find out if extra coverage is necessary is to discuss your coverage needs with a professional insurance agent. See Part 1 for other basic information about umbrella coverage. COPYRIGHT: Insurance Publishing Plus, Inc. 1998, 2002, 2008