In 2020, the U.S. had a record 22 million millionaires, up from 20.2 million in the previous year. An increase in personal wealth may bring greater financial flexibility; it may also bring greater liability.
Individuals with high net worth, or those who are perceived to have high net worth, may be more likely to be sued. And personal injury claims can reach into the millions.
Umbrella liability insurance is designed to put an extra layer of protection between your assets and a potential lawsuit. It provides coverage over and above existing automobile and homeowners insurance limits.
For example, imagine your teenage son borrows your car and gets in an accident, seriously injuring the other driver. The accident results in a lawsuit and a $1 million judgment against you. If your car insurance policy has a liability limit of $500,000, that much should be covered. If you have additional umbrella liability coverage, your policy can be designed to kick in and cover the rest. Without umbrella coverage, you may be responsible for paying out of pocket for the other $500,000, which could mean liquidating assets, losing the equity in your home, or even having your wages garnished.
Umbrella liability insurance is usually sold in increments of $1 million and generally costs just a few hundred dollars a year. It typically covers a broad range of scenarios, including bodily injuries, property damage caused by you or a member of your household, libel, slander, false arrest, and defamation of character.
Deciding whether liability coverage is right for you may be a question of lifestyle. You might consider buying a policy if you:
- Entertain frequently and serve your guests alcohol
- Operate a business out of your home
- Give interviews that may be published
- Drive a lot of miles or have teenage drivers
- Live in a manner that gives the appearance of wealth
- Have a dog, especially if the breed is known to be aggressive
- Own jet skis, a boat, motorcycles, or snowmobiles
Who's Got What?
In 2020, there were about 35.1 million households in the United States whose net worth was in the $100,000 to $1 million range (excluding primary residence). Only 173,000 households had a net worth of $25 million or more.
Even if you don’t yet have a tent in the millionaire camp, you may want to consider the benefits of liability insurance. You don’t have to be a millionaire to be sued for a million dollars. Anyone who is carefully building a financial portfolio may want to limit their exposure to risk. Umbrella liability can be a fairly inexpensive way to help shelter current assets and future income from the unexpected.
This is a simplified description of coverage. All statements made are subject to the provisions, exclusions, conditions, and limitations of applicable insurance policies. Please refer to actual policy documents for complete details regarding coverage.
Please remember that different types of investments involve varying degrees of risk, and there can be no assurance that the future performance of any specific investment, investment strategy, or product made reference to directly or indirectly in this content, will be profitable, equal any corresponding indicated historical performance level(s), or be suitable for you or your portfolio. Due to various factors, including changing market conditions, the content may no longer be reflective of current opinions or positions. Moreover, you should not assume that any discussion or information contained in this newsletter (article) serves as the receipt of, or as a substitute for, personalized investment advice from Searcy Financial Services, Inc.
The content of this letter does not constitute a tax or legal opinion. Always consult with a competent professional service provider for advice on tax or legal matters specific to your situation. To the extent that a reader has any questions regarding the applicability of any specific issue discussed in this content, he/she is encouraged to consult with the professional advisor of his/her choosing.
Published for the blog on December 16, 2021 by Searcy Financial Services, your Overland Park, Kansas Fee-Only Financial Planner and Investment Manager.