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May 08, 2023

When You Don’t Have Insurance To Cover A Claim

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Posted in Wisconsin Workers Compensation Related News

Personal Injury Lawyers

If you’ve watched any local news coverage on television or listened to the radio, you’re probably sick and tired of all the ads for personal injury attorneys. “I called _______ Law and they got me $1 million dollars!” Sadly, there are apparently lots of folks out there looking for a quick payday for their accident claim. What the ads fail to mention is that most states only require that you are insured for the minimum liability limits of in the range of $15,000.00 to $25,000.00. This means that if your liability limits are exhausted and your insurer has paid out the maximum available under your policy, an individual could come after you personally to pay the rest.

While liability insurance can prevent many lawsuits from causing you large financial losses by covering damages, court costs and legal fees, there are situations where you may not have enough coverage to avoid personal exposure. Here are some real-life examples our friends have seen a VanMeveren Law Group.

  • You have a dinner party, and a guest causes a serious accident after drinking too much at your home
  • You take your dog to the dog park, and it bites a child in the face, causing permanent and disfiguring damages
  • A repairman trips over an uneven step on your property, falls and sustains debilitating injuries preventing him from returning to work
  • A reckless snowboarder cuts you off, forcing you to collide with another skier who sustains serious injuries

What Is Umbrella Insurance?

Umbrella insurance is extra liability coverage that goes above and beyond the limits of your other insurance policies.  It essentially provides you with an extra layer of liability insurance. Policies typically offer at least $1 million in additional coverage above what your home, auto, or business insurance can provide. Umbrella policies kick in where your other policies leave off so that you don’t need to worry about liability costs that exceed your insurance coverage limits.

Coverage at home: If a guest slips in your home and breaks an arm, your personal umbrella liability insurance will cover beyond what your homeowner’s policy limit would cover.  This means you would be covered for legal and medical expenses if you are at fault in the accident.

Vehicles: Umbrella insurance will also extend beyond your home to your listed vehicles as well.  In many circumstances, it also applies not only to your vehicles but to your motorcycles and recreational vehicles.  Umbrella policies can also apply to boats.

Assets and Future Earnings:  In the event you are found liable in an auto collision or any personal injury litigation, umbrella insurance policies step in and cover your finances.  For example, if you are found at fault for $1 million in an automobile collision, your auto insurance may cover $250,000.00 and your umbrella policy could step in to fill the remaining $750,000.00.

Though you might think that only a wealthy person would need that much insurance coverage, if you have assets like a home, investments, or savings, you risk losing them all if a judgment against you is higher than what your standard liability insurance policy will cover.

While it is possible to be over insured, it’s much more likely that you’re underinsured for liability purposes. Don’t learn the hard way that you need more liability insurance. Accidents and injuries don’t happen on a schedule, and once you’re the target of a liability suit it’s too late to increase your coverage.

Unfortunately, our society has become overly litigious, due in part to the daily onslaught of personal injury attorney ads.  Undoubtedly, our airways are saturated with misleading claims of big pay days. While most of these commercials are exaggerated, catastrophic lawsuits can and do happen. Your best defense is to make sure you have coverage in place to protect your family from personal exposure.

Please review your liability and umbrella coverages with your insurance agent on a regular basis or stop by the office of a personal injury attorney near you for help.

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