While most primary insurance policies offer a significant amount of liability protection, there usually is a limit to how much liability protection a homeowners, auto or other primary policy will provide. For Massachusetts residents who want more protection than primary policies offer, a personal umbrella policy might be an inexpensive way to obtain additional liability coverage.
A personal umbrella policy typically serves as a secondary policy that supplements primary policies. When supplemented with an umbrella policy, primary policies are sometimes referred to as “underlying policies.”
Any Massachusetts residents who want more liability coverage than they’re able to obtain through primary insurance policies may benefit from personal umbrella insurance. This includes (but isn’t limited to):
Wealthy residents who want extra protection for their assets
Family estate owners who are afraid of losing their family’s property
Landlords who could be sued by current or former tenants
Athletes who play contact sports and might injure someone
Boat owners who could have an accident on the water that injures someone
Most personal umbrella insurance policies aren’t set up to provide coverage for physical property. It’s usually possible to predict how much replacing physical property would cost, and property coverage up to that amount can normally be attained through an appropriate insurance policy (e.g. a homeowners policy for a house or an auto policy for a car). The protections that personal umbrella policies offer are generally for liability risks, which don’t always have a known maximum cost.
Personal umbrella policies frequently come with minimum coverage requirements that must be met by underlying policies. If an umbrella policy’s minimum requirements aren’t met, the policy’s coverage may be jeopardized.
Thus, residents usually need to either already have sufficient existing primary policies in place or purchase sufficient primary policies when getting an umbrella policy. Without underlying policies, there’s often little reason to get an umbrella policy because its protections may be voided.
Generally speaking, an umbrella policy is able to provide more robust coverage than a comparable excess liability policy. Because specific coverages vary, there may be exceptions to this but they’re relatively uncommon. The reason why personal umbrella policies are frequently able to provide more robust coverage lies in where each policy gets its terms, conditions and exclusions.
Excess liability policies typically adopt the terms, limits and exclusions of one underlying policy that they supplement. As a result, they usually don’t provide any broader coverages than the underlying policy offers.
Personal umbrella policies, in contrast, have their own terms, conditions and exclusions. Therefore, they’re normally able to both supplement multiple underlying policies and fill in gaps left by underlying policies.
As is the case with almost any insurance policy, the premiums that insurers charge for personal umbrella coverage are based on many factors and
Because personal umbrella policies interact so much with underlying policies, residents who want a personal umbrella policy should talk with a Garrity Insurance agent who specializes in this insurance. Our agents have helped others find personal umbrella policies and will know what coverages are available and how to review underlying policies to ensure all minimum requirements are met. Since we are independent, our agents will also be able to compare personal umbrella policies from several insurers in the state.