June 29, 2018

Do Typical Massachusetts Residents Really Need a Personal Umbrella Policy?

Personal umbrella insurance is sometimes thought to be an insurance that only the well-off need. After all, wealthy individuals are the ones who have assets they need to protect. Umbrella insurance isn’t just for the rich, though. Here are some reasons why average Massachusetts residents — those who make normal salaries and live in typical homes — should still consider getting a personal umbrella policy.

Is a Personal Umbrella Policy an Insurance That Typical Massachusetts Residents Really Need?

Anyone Can be Sued Regardless of Their Income or Assets

While people who have significant assets might be targeted by opportunistic lawsuits, pretty much anyone can be sued. You don’t need to have lots of money (or even any money) to be named in a lawsuit. Many Massachusetts residents who have normal incomes and few assets face lawsuits, including liability lawsuits. The rich aren’t the only ones who live with this risk.

Liability Lawsuits Can Be Extremely Expensive

If you’re named in a liability lawsuit, be prepared for a major expense. With lawyer’s fees frequently starting at $100 per hour for an inexpensive lawyer in a rural area — and often being set a lot higher — simply mounting a legal defense can cost thousands or tens of thousands of dollars.

This doesn’t even take into account potential settlements or judgments that could be assessed if you’re found responsible for another party’s injury or property damage. In serious liability lawsuits, four- and five-figure settlements are fairly common.

Without a personal umbrella policy, a liability lawsuit would likely be financially devastating. Even if you have a primary insurance policy that covers the claim, a drawn-out or major suit could exceed the primary policy’s limits. If the suit isn’t covered by a primary insurance policy, just mounting a legal defense could consume your savings. In some cases, you may be forced to declare bankruptcy.

Many Massachusetts Residents Participate in Activities That Expose Them to Risk

Having assets isn’t the only thing that can increase your risk of being named in a liability lawsuit. Many residents participate in activities that expose them to potential risks, such as:

  • Boating, snowmobiling and ATVing, during which you could cause an accident that involved serious or fatal injuries
  • Chaperoning, which leaves you responsible for the welfare of the children on a trip
  • Owning a dog, which may bite a passerby on a walk or guest who comes to your house
  • Having a pool or trampoline, which a person using could be seriously injured by

Even just driving in a car, which most people do, exposes you to potentially large liability suits. If you were to hit a pedestrian in a crosswalk or cause a multi-car pileup, the resulting injuries and damages might exceed your auto insurance policy’s limits.

Personal Umbrella Insurance Offers Affordable Protection

A well-chosen personal umbrella insurance policy could protect you from many potential liability lawsuits, and it may do so for less than you think. Because personal umbrella policies are supplemental policies, insurers are often able to offer high limits at low rates. In many cases, millions of dollars worth of coverage costs only a little bit each year.

You don’t have to be rich to afford personal umbrella insurance. It’s a coverage that average residents can usually afford with ease.

Find a Personal Umbrella Policy That Suits Your Situation

If you haven’t previously considered getting a personal umbrella policy because you thought it’d be too expensive, talk with your independent insurance agent. Ask them how much personal umbrella insurance might cost and how it might protect you from potential lawsuits. Chances are, you’ll find that it offers a lot of protection for not too much — and your independent Massachusetts agent will be able to find a good policy for you.

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