Umbrellas aren’t just for millionaires

Thanks to inflation, it takes $2.21 to buy what $1 could in 1985. Yet the maximum liability limit available on most insurance companies’ auto and home policies — $500,000 — hasn’t budged for about 30 years.

So how can you protect yourself in a litigious world where a half-million bucks ain’t what it used to be?

Consider an umbrella policy. It adds an extra $1, $2, or $3 million of liability protection on top of existing coverage. That can guard against whopping jury awards and medical costs that could exceed your policy’s liability limits if you’re found responsible for a serious accident.

So who needs an umbrella policy?

It sounds strange, but what you own may not be the only predictor of whether or not you need extra coverage. Everyday circumstances can multiply your chances of being sued.

For example, your risk increases if you travel or entertain a lot, host frequent playtime for neighborhood children, serve on a volunteer board (without directors’ insurance), expect an inheritance someday, or are early in your career with years of earning ahead of you.

For most people, though, young drivers are the biggest concern. Crash rates per mile driven for teens are three times that of drivers 20 and older, with parents being held responsible for damages.

What’s it take to get an umbrella policy?

Depending on where you live and your assets, a $1 million policy could start as low as $190 a year. To qualify for umbrella insurance with PEMCO, you must have both your auto and home insurance with us. Your auto liability levels must be $250,000/$500,000 for bodily injury and $100,000 for property damage. You also must carry homeowner liability limits of $300,000. For more information, talk with your local PEMCO agent or call 1-800-GO-PEMCO (1-800-467-3626).