Our agency frequently receives claim scenarios from each insurance provider that we are appointed with.  The intention is to keep us informed of all scenarios that present risk to our clients in order to better educate them on the importance of umbrella liability insurance.  

Simply stated, we often must read some pretty tough stuff that happens to people who are involved in a claim where an umbrella policy has to respond because the liability limits of an underlying insurance policy have been exhausted.  Or worse yet, sometimes we learn what happens when an insured doesn’t have umbrella liability insurance.  For example…

Ashley Didn’t Have an Umbrella Policy

Ashley and her friend Andrea worked together and often carpooled, especially on the evening of their weekly dinner with friends from college.  Ashley couldn’t remember what time they agreed to meet on this night, so she sent a quick text to double check.  

With her eyes focused on her phone, Ashley didn’t see the two bicyclists in the crosswalk until it was too late.  Both cyclists sustained serious injuries, including head trauma, lung collapse, broken ribs, and multiple major fractures.  Andrea was not wearing her seat belt and suffered a severe head injury, requiring hospitalization and rehabilitation.

After Ashley’s auto liability limits were exhausted, she was held personally responsible for all outstanding medical bills.  Since she didn’t have any significant assets, her future earnings would be garnished until the bills were settled.  If she had an umbrella policy, it would have responded for the full amount.  Policies start at only $253.00 per year for $1 MM of coverage.  This occurrence resulted in a $625,000.00 claim.  

Tiffany Had an Umbrella Policy 

Carol, a software developer, was looking forward to spending her birthday vacation on the slopes with friends.  An experienced snowboarder, she set out on her third run of the day just as Tiffany, an inexperienced skier, was skiing down the mountain too fast, forcing her to lose control and crash into Carol.  Carol suffered a complete ACL tear requiring reconstruction, a shoulder fracture, and a minor head injury, even though she was wearing a helmet – all of which prevented her from working for six months.   

After Tiffany’s homeowner’s liability limit was exhausted, her standalone personal umbrella policy covered Carol’s medical bills, loss of wages, and pain and suffering all amounting to a $575,000.00 claim.  

It’s an Affordable Life Saver

As you can gather from the comparison of scenarios, spending just a small amount of money annually can afford you a big amount of protection in the event life throws you a curve ball. Umbrella policies are important for everyone.  We hope you never have to experience a situation like either one of these; but if you do, we want you to be protected.  That's why we're spreading the word.  Umbrella insurance truly is an affordable life saver.   

If you have any questions about this important coverage, please contact V.F. McNeil Insurance today (203.481.2684).  Our insurance specialists are always ready to assist you.