11 Reasons You Need Umbrella Insurance Right Now

An umbrella insurance policy can protect your assets and future earnings from expensive lawsuits.

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An umbrella insurance policy can protect your assets and future earnings from expensive lawsuits. This type of policy increases the liability limits beyond the coverage offered by your auto and homeowners insurance policies. “Catastrophic financial loss could occur in seconds,” says Ana Robic, chief operating officer of Chubb Personal Risk Services. The cost of a lawsuit, medical expenses and legal fees can devastate your savings, but you can buy an umbrella policy that can provide millions of dollars of coverage for hundreds of dollars in premiums.

You can usually add $1 million of extra coverage for about $150 to $350 per year, and each additional $1 million of coverage costs $75 to $150. (You generally need to have at least $300,000 in liability coverage from your home insurance, and $250,000 per person and $500,000 per accident of bodily injury coverage from your car insurance first.) Use our umbrella insurance calculator to help estimate how much coverage to get. Check with your insurer and agent about what your home or auto insurance policy will cover and gaps you need to fill. An umbrella policy may be particularly valuable if you have the following risks.

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Patricia Mertz Esswein
Contributing Writer, Kiplinger's Personal Finance
Esswein joined Kiplinger in May 1984 as director of special publications and managing editor of Kiplinger Books. In 2004, she began covering real estate for Kiplinger's Personal Finance, writing about the housing market, buying and selling a home, getting a mortgage, and home improvement. Prior to joining Kiplinger, Esswein wrote and edited for Empire Sports, a monthly magazine covering sports and recreation in upstate New York. She holds a BA degree from Gustavus Adolphus College, in St. Peter, Minn., and an MA in magazine journalism from the S.I. Newhouse School at Syracuse University.