April 25, 2019

Would a Personal Umbrella Policy Cover My Entire Family?

Personal umbrella policies are so-named to distinguish them from commercial umbrella liability policies, and not because they necessarily insure only one person. Many personal umbrella policies in Massachusetts offer coverage for the policyholder and their family. Here are just some examples of how a personal umbrella policy might help protect your family members. (Exact coverages and protections vary.)

Would My Entire Family in Massachusetts Be Covered by a Personal Umbrella Policy?

Your Spouse Decides to Chaperone a Trip

Many parents chaperone trips at some point in time, and going on adventures with a gaggle of children can be great fun. It also comes with significant responsibility, though, and parents may be held responsible for what happens on a trip they chaperone.

If your spouse chaperones a trip and there’s a tragic accident on the trip, your spouse might be sued by the parents of the injured child. For one parent who chaperoned a group of cheerleaders visiting Hawaii, the lawsuit that came after a girl on the trip died of alcohol poisoning was financially ruinous. It resulted in a $690,000 judgement against the parent.

A personal umbrella policy won’t do anything to alleviate the guilt that a chaperone will likely feel if there is an accident during their trip. It may, however, help pay legal fees, settlements and judgements related to suits that other parents bring.

Your Teenage Driver Causes a Major Accident

Most drivers in Massachusetts are required to carry auto insurance that at least meets the state’s minimum levels of coverage, and you’ve probably already gone through the quote-requesting process if you have a teenage driver in the family. Sometimes, however, even robust auto policies that provide much more coverage than the state requires still don’t offer sufficient liability protection for major accidents.

If your teenage driver is found responsible for a multi-vehicle accident or one that results in the death of a person, they might face an extremely expensive lawsuit. Even settling out of court could cost a small fortune, and it might exceed the limits on their auto policy.

Personal umbrella insurance might be used to supplement the liability coverage afforded by your teen’s auto insurance policy. When set up properly, the additional coverage may help mitigate legal costs and settlements that are greater than an auto policy’s limits.

Your School-Age Child Lies on Social Media

In the era of fake news, posting false statements on social media may seem to be commonplace. Disparaging someone on social platforms is still an offense, though, and one that the publisher might be held responsible for.

If your school-age child is mad at their teacher and vents on social media, they’re responsible for what they post. Should they post something that’s factually inaccurate and has negative consequences for the teacher, the teacher may sue for libel. Even if a comment seems innocuous at the time of posting, saying the wrong falsehood could be disastrous for your child’s teacher — and expensive for your family.

Many personal umbrella insurance policies include coverage for libel, and some policies extend this coverage to statements published online. Carefully selected personal umbrella insurance may help pay legal fees, settlements and other costs associated with libel suits like the one described above.

Shop for a Personal Umbrella Policy with a Massachusetts Agent

While these three protections might be available through personal umbrella policies, they’re specific scenarios that call for careful review of any policy that you’re considering purchasing. Only after reading all the terms and conditions of a policy can you know for sure whether the policy will cover incidents like these.

For help reviewing policies, contact the independent insurance agents at Scotti Insurance Agency. Our Massachusetts-licensed agents are able to compare policies from several insurance companies, and they know how to review each policy’s provisions. With their help, you can be confident that the personal umbrella policy you choose will offer robust protection for your family.

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