(StatePoint) When you start thinking about how to achieve financial security, a few basic things probably come to mind: insurance for your car and home; disability insurance in case you’re injured and can’t work; life insurance to protect your family in case something happens to you. But there’s one important type of financial protection that many people overlook: umbrella insurance.
“We’ve found that many people don’t understand umbrella insurance, or they mistakenly assume that it’s something that’s needed only by the very wealthy,” said Jon Bloom, vice president, personal auto, Erie Insurance. “The truth is that the vast majority of people with other types of insurance would benefit from this added layer of protection, and it’s available for a much lower cost than many people assume.”
Umbrella insurance provides coverage above and beyond the limits of other insurance policies, such as auto and homeowners. But industry experts say there are some persistent myths that keep many people from getting it.
My car insurance policy will cover me for anything bad that happens.
Reality: A tragic car accident that causes life-changing injuries could result in the need for care that costs far more than your car insurance policy’s limits, and you could be on the hook to make up the difference.
My homeowners policy will pay if someone gets hurt on my property.
Reality: Homeowners insurance may pay up to the limits of your policy, but similar to a car accident, if someone suffers a catastrophic accident on your property, the costs could exceed your policy limits. Umbrella insurance also protects against lawsuits for other things unrelated to injuries. For example, if you write a social media post that’s construed as damaging to someone’s reputation, or if you sit on a nonprofit board or coach a youth sports team and someone brings legal action against you. Ask your insurance agent about the wide range of scenarios that may pertain to you.
I won’t get sued – that only happens to people with a lot of money.
Reality: The truth is that in today’s litigious society, anyone can be sued, and if you are responsible for someone’s injuries that exceed the limits of your other insurance policies, or if you are sued for other reasons, your house and other financial assets could be at risk.
Umbrella insurance is expensive.
Reality: You might be surprised to learn how much coverage you can buy for a modest cost. For example, Erie Insurance says most of its customers can buy an extra $1 million in coverage for less than $20 a month.
When it comes to protecting your family’s financial future, some things are a given, like car, home and life insurance, but it pays to look beyond the obvious. The best thing to do is talk with your insurance agent to make sure you have the right coverages. Chances are you’ll decide that umbrella insurance is a coverage you can’t afford not to have.
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