The Mighty Texas Personal Umbrella Policy

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A better understanding of the personal umbrella policy here in Texas.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Umbrella InsuranceBy Tristan Andrews

Umbrella insurance is meant to shield consumers from charges that go beyond what their traditional insurance covers. In auto coverage, an umbrella plan will kick in after a traditional liability or comprehensive insurance plan stops paying. For example, if you're in an accident and are found to be at fault, the insurance you have will pay for the charges up to the limit that you have placed on the policy. A $15,000 liability policy will pay for the first $15,000 damages, but if your bill comes to $40,000, you're liable for the remaining $25,000. An umbrella insurance policy will pay that bill, and you'll be left in reasonable financial condition.
Umbrella insurance doesn't just cover damages due to car accidents. It can also protect you from becoming financially devastated if you're sued for something that is beyond your control. If a person is damaged on your property, or by something on your property (even a tree!), you can be held legally responsible. Although some states do protect certain assets from being seized, such as your home or vehicle, it is easy to see how much damage even a small lawsuit can do to your financial security.
The cost of umbrella insurance varies by state and by your location in that state. The cost is different for the same reasons that traditional insurance is different, so whatever factors influence the cost of your traditional auto insurance can be expected to play a part in the cost of your umbrella policy. A good range of cost for umbrella insurance is between $200-$300 per year. For that small amount of money, the insurance can contribute up to five million dollars of a lawsuit claim, making it well worth the small increase in the cost of premiums.
Because of the nature of umbrella insurance, it carries a high deductible, sometimes of more that $200,000. Of course, you are not paying that amount out. This is the amount that "you" have to pay before it kicks in, but "you" if often your primary car or homeowners' insurance. Most companies that sell umbrella insurance will require that you have auto insurance and homeowner's insurance that is equal to your deductible. This ensures that you don't have to pay any more out-of-pocket than necessary.
There are times that it's better be "self-insured." This simply means that you are responsible for paying all of your insurance costs, which translates into an easy concept: you don't have insurance! Those who choose to be self-insured do so because they don't expect to ever need it. For example, if you don't drive but once a week, or you're a hermit and don't invite people to your home, you could possibly afford to be self-insured. But if you're a typical, extroverted American who uses a vehicle on a daily basis, it would be to your benefit to consider an umbrella insurance policy.
Tristan Andrews is a writer for California Car Insurance.

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