What is a Personal Umbrella Policy?
Primary insurance policies offer individuals a variety of protections, but there’s frequently a limit to how much protection a primary policy can provide. While the limits may exceed the coverage needs of many Massachusetts residents, some residents may want more protection that primary policies are able to afford. For these residents, a personal umbrella policy may be a viable option.
A personal umbrella policy is a secondary form of insurance that’s meant to supplement underlying, primary policies’ liability coverages. The types of primary policies that a PUP may supplement include homeowners, auto, boat, RV, motorcycle and many other insurance policies.
Who in Massachusetts is Personal Umbrella Insurance Right For?
Anyone in Massachusetts who wants more liability protection than their primary insurance policies afford may be interested in personal umbrella insurance. While this can be any resident of the state, people who purchase a PUP tend to either have assets they want well protected or have an increased risk of being sued. Such individuals may include:
- Owners of family estates that they want to ensure stay within the family
- Wealthy residents who may be targeted by opportunistic lawyers
- Dog owners who could be sued over an incident involving their dog
- Landlords who might be sued by tenants
- Residents who engage in high-risk activities (e.g. boating, playing contact sports, etc.)
- Professionals who do pro-bono work that’s not covered by another insurance policy
While these are examples of people who often consider getting a PUP, this is far from a comprehensive list. PUPs are available to almost anyone who wants extra liability protection regardless of their assets, vocation or activities.
Does Personal Umbrella Insurance Provide Property Protections?
Personal umbrella insurance generally doesn’t include property protections because individuals can usually get the property protections they need through primary policies. It’s because policyholders may need or want extra liability coverage that personal umbrella policies provide supplemental liability protection.
Can Residents Get Personal Umbrella Policies Without Underlying Policies?
Personal umbrella policies normally shouldn’t be purchased without first having underlying policies in place.
For one, personal umbrella policies usually don’t include property protections, which are important coverages that homeowners, auto and other primary policies typically afford. Without property protections, residents would likely only be protected from liability lawsuits, and not from perils like windstorms, fires and burglaries.
Additionally, many personal umbrella policies require policyholders to carry minimum levels of primary coverages. Without these required coverages in place, a personal umbrella policy’s protections might be voided.
Are Personal Umbrella and Excess Liability Insurance the Same?
Personal umbrella and excess liability insurance are similar, but they have significant differences.
Personal umbrella policies normally set their own terms, conditions, exclusions and limits, which frees them from restrictions in any underlying policy’s paperwork. Because personal umbrella policies are able to set forth their own stipulations, they can both fill in coverage gaps left by underlying policies and supplement more than one underlying policy.
Excess liability policies may set their own limits, but they typically adopt the terms, conditions and exclusions of the underlying policy that they supplement. Because excess liability policies are restricted to an underlying policy’s stipulations, they can’t fill in coverage gaps and they’re limited to supplementing just one underlying policy.
How Can Massachusetts Residents Get a Personal Umbrella Policy?
Shopping for personal umbrella policies is a complex process. In addition to deciding what coverages are needed and comparing premiums, residents also have to make sure they have the right underlying coverages in place and don’t have duplicate coverage anywhere. This requires comparing each personal umbrella policy’s terms and conditions with those of each primary policy that’s being supplemented.
For help finding a personal umbrella policy that perfectly complements their underlying policies, Massachusetts residents should contact an independent insurance agent who specializes in personal umbrella insurance. An agent who’s familiar with this insurance and independent will know how to compare policies and make sure all required coverages are in place, and they’ll be able to offer the best policy no matter what insurer underwrites it.