Most insurance customers have heard about umbrella coverage, but often the need for it is clouded in “what if” scenarios. Commonly umbrella insurance is sold with claims like “you never know when you’ll need it,” and “it only costs a little bit per day,” which makes it an easy choice for most insurance customers. Even so, the real need for umbrella insurance is pretty cloudy for most customers. Worse yet, if you get into court over a liability claim, you could be looking at $1 million or more in damages. Umbrella coverage only helps in circumstances like this if you have it before the liability claim. In order to help customers visualize just what umbrella insurance covers, we’d like to look at some real life umbrella insurance claims.
A Word On How Umbrella Coverage Works
Before we go any further, we’d just like to summarize how umbrella coverage works. As the term suggests, umbrella insurance comes in and provides “blanket” coverage after your primary insurance product, be it homeowners, auto, or other, is exhausted. As we examine these real life umbrella insurance claims, it is important to remember that your primary coverage will be used first. Once the policy limit is exhausted, umbrella insurance will kick in to cover additional costs up to the umbrella policy limit. Depending on the policy, you can extend umbrella limits beyond $1 million to even $5 million depending on your needs.
Believe it or not, a lot of umbrella insurance claims originate from simple neighborhood parties or even children just playing in a homeowner’s yard. We all love our children and we want them to have rich, enjoyable childhoods. Part of that is playing with the neighborhood children. However we also know that children are prone to get into trouble, be it your children or the neighbor children who come over to play in your yard. As we examine real life umbrella insurance claims, we have to look at worse case scenarios. Say some teens are playing airsoft, paintball, or some similar activity in your yard, and one teen doesn’t wear adequate protection. A stray projectile hits a neighbor’s child in the eye and they lose their eyesight. Soon after their parents sue and you’re liable for damages since the children were playing on your property. Often it doesn’t take long for damages reach far above your homeowners policy limits. Umbrella insurance is invaluable in situations like this.
Most of us like to entertain our friends and family at our homes. Some of us even like to serve alcohol at our parties. However when friends and family get rowdy (with or without libations) on your property, some serious claims can occur. A guest could get injured while diving into your swimming pool. Your deck could collapse because the party gets too crowded. Even minors can sneak alcohol into your party, drive home drunk and severely injure themselves in a crash. Since all these activities took place on your property, you are liable, even if you didn’t supply alcohol to guests or minors. It doesn’t take long for your homeowners policy to be exhausted in a serious claim, but umbrella insurance will protect you should the worst happen on your property.
Remember, you don’t have to be on your property to be liable for an accident. You could be hosting a party elsewhere, and if a child gets hurt, you could be responsible for supervising the party.
At one time or another, all parents need to rely on a babysitter to watch their children. No matter how thoroughly the babysitter comes recommended or vetted, they are human and mistakes happen. Occasionally babysitters make negligent decisions or mistakes that result in serious injuries to your children. If you or your adolescent is the babysitter, you could be facing an extremely serious claim. An injury liability claim can easily reach $500,000 or more depending on how severe the injury is to the child being watched by the babysitter. This may not be the first thing you think of when it comes to an injury claim, but it is another one of the real life umbrella insurance claims to be aware of as you evaluate coverage.
Eventually, even if we as parents aren’t ready for it, our children begin to date. Once we’re comfortable with their age and the people they are dating, we allow our children to leave the house unsupervised. However we also know that teens make mistakes. Say your teenage child is driving their boyfriend or girlfriend around town and get into a crash. The passenger is severely injured and your teenager is found to be liable for the accident. The passenger’s parents sue, and you may need umbrella coverage to settle the claim.
Far too often we think our comments online mean little or nothing. Social media has become so prevalent that even our children and adolescents are engaging in it. However often our children don’t quite grasp the impact that internet comments have on others. The interaction between teachers and children in social media is especially tricky. Say your child or teen ends up posting false and damaging comments about a teacher or another child. You can be sued for damages in circumstances like this, and this scenario makes umbrella insurance even more important today’s online environment.
Final Thoughts On Real Life Umbrella Insurance Claims
There are a lot of lessons to be learned by these real life umbrella insurance claims. It’s important to supervise children and party-goers whenever you’re in a liable situation. The impact of operating a motor vehicle and commenting online can have severe consequences, and both children and adults need to be aware of them. Even so, you never quite know when these real life umbrella insurance claims might impact you. Worse yet, a completely new claim could arise, and after a long and difficult court case, you could be found liable. Given the price of umbrella insurance, it’s wise for most people to invest in the coverage. As cliche as it sounds, you truly never know when you might need it. Still have questions about real life umbrella insurance claims or this coverage option in general? Contact us at Square State Insurance to learn more today.