Family with dog playing in the woods.

What Is Umbrella Insurance?

Updated March 1, 2022 . AmFam Team

Umbrella insurance provides extra protection in addition to your current policies. Learn more about umbrella insurance policies and how they work.

Umbrella coverage offers additional financial protection over and above the personal liability limits of other currently active insurance policies you have. Think of umbrella insurance as a powerful financial shield that can help protect your savings and future earnings under certain situations.

Whether you’re found at fault for a multi-vehicle crash on the interstate, or a guest slips and falls down the icy steps outside your home — the added coverage in an umbrella policy can kick in and help cover any remaining costs should the liability limits on your underlying car or homeowners max out.

And umbrella insurance coverage doesn’t stop there. Liability lawsuits can come in many forms and the hefty financial judgements that frequently accompany them can also drain your savings. Today, let’s take a closer look at umbrella insurance to help you understand how this coverage can help protect your financial dreams and everything you’ve worked so hard for.

Who Needs Umbrella Insurance?

This coverage can really help you out of an otherwise tough financial situation. It can protect you from wage garnishment where your future earnings could be docked. And if liability judgments levied against you exceed the limits of your homeowners, auto or other policies you have, you’ll be glad you’ve got this important coverage in place.

How Is Defamation, Slander and Libel Covered?

Coverage typically extends to others who are not named on your policy. That means you can’t sue yourself for defamation — or other persons listed in your policy for that matter. But if you made a slanderous comment on social media against someone, and a legal judgement finds you guilty, the settlement from that lawsuit could otherwise wipe out your savings and force you to relinquish other financial assets.

With umbrella coverage in place, your retirement funds, financial holdings and the hard-earned equity in your home can be better protected from legal liable settlements.

What Does Umbrella Insurance Cover?

Umbrella insurance covers such things as bodily injury, personal injury, property damage and landlord liability. Here are a few specific examples of how umbrella insurance can help protect your family and your assets.

You or a family member accidentally injure someone

Suppose your dog darts out the front door and jumps in front of a cyclist, resulting in a multi-vehicle crash with serious injuries. After your homeowners liability coverage pays out to its limit, your umbrella insurance will then kick in to help cover expensive repairs, costly medical bills and other covered expenses.

As a board member, you’re found liable for a decision you made

Although the terms of your service can impact liability, volunteer board members may be able to use their personal umbrella coverage to help protect their savings, if found liable in a court of law. Be sure to review your liability policy with your agent (Opens in a new tab) to understand how and when your coverage can help.

Your spouse hits the gas instead of the brakes

While your partner is pulling into a parking spot, their foot slips off the brakes and onto the gas pedal. The car then plunges into a storefront causing serious property damage and injuring three people. After your auto coverage limit is met, the umbrella policy can then help to pay for the rest of the damages and resulting hospital bills — up to the umbrella policy’s limit.

Minors access your liquor cabinet

Suppose you’re away for the weekend and you forget to lock your liquor cabinet on the way out. An underage guest then has several drinks and on their drive home, crashes their vehicle later that evening. This results in a totaled car and extensive injuries to the driver and others involved in the accident.

You injure someone in an ATV collision

While out on the ATV trail with friends, you misjudge a curve and collide with another ATV. You’re found liable and now need to pay out thousands more than your ATV’s liability limit provides.

You strike another boat at high speed 

Accidents on the water can happen quickly and costs for damages can add up when others require immediate medical attention. After the liability limits on your watercraft coverage are met, your umbrella insurance can help to pay for repairs and long-term health expenses to others.

Other Coverage Examples

Everyone can benefit from the protection of an umbrella policy. You’ll find the extra protection that umbrella insurance coverage offers is key, if you:

  • Own or rent a home or condo
  • Have a dog
  • Have significant savings or financial assets
  • Have kids living at home
  • Coach your kids’ sports team
  • Travel abroad
  • Own recreational vehicles like an RV, boat, wave runner or ATV
  • Own rental properties
  • Have a pool or trampoline
  • Volunteer on a board

What’s Not Covered with Umbrella Insurance?

Liability coverage helps you cover the financial responsibilities related to issues that others experience when you’re found legally at-fault. But umbrella insurance won’t cover damage you do to your own property or liabilities related to your profession or business.

Most umbrella policies typically extend coverage on exposures — or covered events — that are identified in a given underlying policy. You can also purchase an endorsement to your umbrella, adding protection to uninsured and underinsured coverage on your underlying vehicle policy. If you’ve got coverage questions, be sure to talk to your agent (Opens in a new tab) about how your specific umbrella policy works.

How Much Does Umbrella Insurance Cost?

Umbrella coverage might cost you as little as $150  $300 per year, or around $15 – $30 per month, with American Family Insurance. And for that, you’ll typically get around $1,000,000 in coverage above your base policy’s limit. While costs will vary by region and other underwriting factors, it's a small price to pay for real peace of mind.

If you feel more protection is needed, additional umbrella coverage is available in other increments.

Get the Umbrella Coverage You Need Today

With so much on the line, having the right umbrella insurance coverage in place can really help to protect your financial future. As more and more households use social media on a daily basis, and purchasing recreational vehicles, the need for a strong umbrella policy has never been greater.

Be sure to reach out to your American Family Insurance agent and request a quote for this important coverage. You’ll find more peace of mind knowing you’ve done what you can to protect everything you've worked so hard for.

This article is for informational purposes only and includes information widely available through different sources.

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