Monday, October 31, 2016

What's an umbrella policy?


Commissioner Kreidler recently participated in a Facebook live Q&A with KIRO TV reporter Jesse Jones, where viewers submitted their insurance questions. Jesse and Commissioner Kreidler got lots of great questions, including a couple about umbrella policies.

Umbrella policy is one of those insurance terms that a lot of people have heard but many aren’t quite sure what it means. Simply put, an umbrella policy extends your liability coverage beyond what is covered by your homeowner and auto policies. Umbrella policies pay only after you exhaust the liability limit of your homeowner or auto policies, which are referred to as underlying policies.

Here’s an example: Your dog bites a visitor in your home. The visitor sues you for damages and wins a $1 million award against you. Your homeowner’s insurance policy will only pay up to the $300,000 liability coverage limit listed in your home policy. If you have a $1 million umbrella policy, it will pay the remaining $700,000, minus any deductible. According to the Insurance Information Institute, a $1 million umbrella policy costs $150-$300 per year – that’s about $13 to $25 per month in premiums.

If you are interested in buying an umbrella policy, you should contact your insurance agent or company.

Questions? You can contact our consumer advocates online or at 1-800-562-6900.