Personal Umbrella Insurance

Dean Landers, Landers Appliance

Everyone seems to have resigned themselves to the fact that our society has become “sue first and ask questions later”. How utterly sad and disappointing! How did we get to this place and what affect will this have on us as a society? How will we, as business owners protect ourselves from blatant deceit, sleight of hand, and total disregard for integrity in the almighty pursuit of greed from people who “perceive” or “feel” they have been harmed by omission or commission.

I received a solicitation in the mail recently from an insurance company I do business with offering to sell me a “Personal Umbrella Liability” policy. They were proudly offering coverage for as little as $158 annually for $1,000,000 of coverage AND I could increase the coverage to limits of up to $10,000,000!! Who wouldn’t want that? But wait. Why is there even a need for such coverage? What press point could they use to convince me that buying this “Personal Umbrella Liability” policy was a fantastic idea? On page two of the solicitation they identified that if I left myself exposed without purchasing their policy it could cost me a fortune!

There were three specific incidences cited to give their claim real teeth, hoping to create fear in me, causing me to buy their policy. The first example was about a student that blogged on the Internet, using disparaging remarks about her math teacher. The teacher was able to successfully sue the parents for a whopping $750,000!!   The second example was about a landlord who was being sued by their tenant claiming she had become ill from carbon monoxide poisoning from a faulty furnace. The tenant claimed permanent brain damage and sued for gobs of money. The third example came from the world of sports. Parents of a female teenage softball player filed a lawsuit against her former coach, claiming his teaching style was “incorrect” and it ruined her chances of receiving an athletic scholarship from a college.

The world has gone mad and we are being swept up in the insanity. How should you respond? One thing is certain, as business owners operating in-home service companies we need to check and double check our insurance coverage. Make sure the amount of coverage you carry is substantial enough to protect you personally from exorbitant lawsuits. Your service vehicles should have no less than $500,000 coverage but $1,000,000 is preferred. General liability should be no less than $1,000,000 but $2,000,000 is preferred and your umbrella policy should be for no less than $2,000,000 but $3,000,000 (or more depending on the size of your company) is preferred. Make sure your insurance agent has complete understanding of the policies they are selling and that they fully understand the specific areas you need to be protected.

No, I am not getting a commission from anyone selling insurance! But I am seriously concerned for the welfare of our industry and particularly for each individual member of the United Servicers Association.

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