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Can I Get Protection Beyond What My Car Insurance Policy Alone Affords?

by Bill Garrity

Most car insurance policies come with several options for limits, and some of these options can provide quite a bit of coverage. Still, some drivers in Massachusetts want more protection than what the uppermost limit of their auto policy will afford. If you’re one of these drivers, here’s how you may be able to obtain additional protection through an umbrella insurance policy.

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How to Get More Protection Than My Massachusetts Car Insurance Alone Provides

Car Policies Have Limits

Car insurance policies typically have several limits, often assigning a specific limit to each coverage that’s provided.

Some of these limits, such as the limits assigned to any comprehensive or collision coverage included in a policy, might not be too adjustable. Comprehensive and collision limits are usually set to the fair-market value of the insured vehicle.

Other policy limits, however, frequently come with several options. Limits for injury coverages and liability coverages, in particular, often have multiple choices for drivers to choose from.

Of the limits that can be adjusted, the available choices may include options that are quite high. High six-figure and even seven-figure limits are somewhat common options in some policies.

Even the upper limits on policies, though, may not provide all the coverage you want. Whether you’re worried about opportunistic lawsuits or catastrophic accidents, there are several valid reasons to seek more protection than an auto insurance policy might offer.

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Umbrella Insurance Provides Supplemental Protection

If you’d like higher limits that provide more protection, an umbrella insurance policy may be a good choice. These policies normally aren’t purchased as substitutions for auto policies but rather as a supplement.

Umbrella insurance policies typically provide supplemental liability protection after an underlying policy’s coverage has been exhausted. In this situation, the auto policy would likely function as the underlying policy and provide the primary level of coverage. Should a covered claim cost more than your auto policy’s limit, though, an umbrella policy would probably begin to cover additional costs associated with the claim.

As an example, consider a tragic accident that results in $1.5 million worth of legal fees and judgements that you’re responsible for. Additionally, assume your auto insurance’s applicable limit is $1 million and you have an umbrella policy that offers up to $3 million worth of coverage. In this situation, the claims’ costs would likely be paid as follows:

  • You would pay your auto insurance policy’s deductible

  • Your auto insurance policy would pay the costs from your deductible amount to $1 million

  • Your umbrella insurance policy would pay the costs from $1 million to $1.5 million

Without umbrella coverage, this type of claim could leave you personally responsible for your deductible plus the $500,000 beyond your auto insurance policy’s deductible.

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Umbrella Policies Have High Limits

Since umbrella policies generally function as supplemental policies, insurance companies are frequently able to offer umbrella policies with quite high limits. Policies often start out with $1 million worth of coverage (in addition to whatever the underlying policy affords), and you can usually find policies that have several millions worth of coverage if you’d like. Even with limits this high, the premiums tend to still be affordable because these are supplemental policies.

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Supplement Your Massachusetts Car Insurance

When purchasing an umbrella insurance policy, it’s important to work with a Massachusetts insurance agent who can review both your auto and the new umbrella policy. Because umbrella policies are supplemental, most come with underlying coverage requirements that underlying policies must meet. A knowledgeable insurance agent can help make sure your auto policy meets a particular umbrella policy’s underlying requirements for vehicle coverage.

To speak with an independent agent in Massachusetts, contact Garrity Insurance. Our team is well-versed in both car insurance and umbrella insurance, and we can help you get the amount of protection that you personally want. Of course, our agents will make sure the policies complement one another well. Our agents will also ensure you get a fair price by shopping around for auto and umbrella policies from different insurers.

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