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Don't Make Yourself a Target for Lawsuits


Don't Make Yourself a Target for Lawsuits

You've worked a long time and have built substantial wealth. You want to enjoy the better things in life. Hey, you deserve to! Just be aware that nice things come with a price other than sticker price... Auto accidents are the biggest reason for large claims. You are much more likely to be involved in an auto accident and lawsuit than a personal injury lawsuit occurring at your home. I hate to break it to you, but there are a lot of people out there that may look to take advantage of you if you are at fault in an accident.


You're A Millionaire, Now What?

If you live in the Bay Area, have a good career, own a home and have some decent savings, chances are good that you are already a millionaire. Acquired wealth comes with added exposures and liabilities. You may have a second home, extra vehicles, toys like boats, motorcycles, ATVs, but  when was the last time you really reviewed your insurance and personal risk management?

Let's look at the added liability exposure for a millionaire. The most common personal liability claims, other than auto related, are dog bites and golf related injuries. In either scenario injuries can add up quick. Consider the loss of income by the injured party and possible punitive damages and you will definitely run out of underlying liability coverage on your homeowners policy. Libel and slander are also becoming more of an issue for households. Social media opens liability exposures for you and your children via the web. It is now common for suits to start from bullying or slander via social media.

You don't have to be a celebrity or major league sports player to be a liability target. Unfortunately, there are opportunists out there that can come after you based on the car you drive, where you live or what they think you are worth. We advise our clients to add a personal umbrella to their coverage portfolio. Umbrellas are very inexpensive to add. Premiums are typically from $200 to $400per year for the first additional $1,000,000 in coverage. They tend to go down as the coverage goes up, so you many be able to add a $5,000,000 umbrella for about $1,500 per year. The likelihood of having a large claim is small, but for the cost and protection, it is extremely wise to add an umbrella. Protection from opportunists is priceless. 

Loyalty is an amazing quality and most people are loyal to their insurance agents. However, there comes a point when you may outgrow your insurance agent. Your agent, especially if they are not independent with many company choices, may not be properly equipped to guide you through your exposures and insurance needs. You have worked very hard to get where you have to lose it because you were not adequately insured.

It's nice to be able to say that you are a millionaire, but it's even better to stay one. Consult with us on protecting your family and assets or let us know if you have any questions about personal umbrellas. We will be happy to provide a review of your exposures and help manage your risk like we have for our private clients for decades. 

Why You, YesYou, Need A Personal Umbrella Policy

Lawsuits can happen to just about anyone. Lawyers help individuals sue over what seems like the smallest of issues. Unfortunately, judges and juries are also awarding a significant amount of money every year. When you buy your personal insurance, you need to keep this in mind. When you’re given the option of umbrella insurance, you need to know just how much it can help you before you automatically dismiss the extra monthly expense.

Take a look at any of your insurance policies. There is a limit on the liability aspect of your insurance. If you’re involved in a lawsuit for negligence or other damage, you may not have enough money to cover all of the various costs. This means that it would then come out of your own finances. Most homeowner policies include $100,000 for liability coverage. Most carriers can go up to $300,000 or $500,000 for a nominal cost, but is this enough coverage? Dog bites are a leader in high paid liability claims. Auto claims are an especially large exposure for liability claims. Teenage drivers can be a particular concern and one of the best reasons to secure an umbrella policy. 

It has always been assumed that the California umbrella insurance policies are just for the wealthy. It’s not true. They are for anyone who is looking for the needed protection to cover them just in case. You’ve worked hard to get where you are. A single lawsuit can leave you penniless just because you didn’t have enough liability insurance.

You can avoid that completely by shopping for umbrella insurance. It will give you added protection on your liability above the current limits of your auto, watercraft and even homeowners insurance policies. Depending upon the company and the policy you choose, it could add up to $5 million extra in liability protection.

The insurance will simply “kick in” when it needs to so that it will continue to cover the expenses even after all of your other policies are completely exhausted. There’s a lot that can go wrong in life and even if it wasn’t your fault, there are lawyers out there who are very good at their job.

Lawsuits are so effective because they go after all that insurance money. The problem is that it’s your insurance money and you may not have enough of it. What then? You need to protect yourself so that your insurance policies aren’t leaving you with visible flaws that leave you vulnerable against lawsuits.

All of your insurance – for your car, your boat, your home, rental homes – has a liability amount attached to it. But if you get an aggressive lawyer that is going to help someone sue you, you need to be prepared for that. Forget about the wealthy protecting their wealth. Even if you’re not rich, you need to protect the things that you do have before someone else decides to take it from you.

Many insurance companies offer California umbrella insurance, so it’s worth looking into. It’s more affordable than you think and that extra protection will come in handy if you’re ever involved in a lawsuit. Contact us if you have any questions about personal liability umbrella or anything else!