What is a Personal Umbrella Policy?

An umbrella policy provides an extra layer of insurance protection by extending the limits of your primary auto(s), home, motorcycle, ATV, RV, and/or boat or yacht policies. Such a policy is called an “umbrella” because it provides liability coverage over and above your standard policies. It can protect you and your family against large and potentially devastating liability claims or judgments. This type of policy provides broad coverage, meaning that some claims that would not be covered by a standard policy may be covered under the umbrella. Keep in mind that the umbrella policy only kicks in once the regular coverage amount is exceeded and will only pay up to the limits of the umbrella policy. Generally, your standard policies must contain minimum levels of liability coverage that are specified by the insurance company in order to purchase the umbrella policy. There are some instances whereby the Umbrella policy may provide additional Loss Assessment coverages, along with Personal Injury type claims. There may also be additional limits of liability for Uninsured Motorists or Underinsured Motorists.  Oftentimes the largest part of an overall claim may be that of the Defense Costs associated with the libility claim against you, even if they are goundless, the insurer may be obligated to defend.

You need an umbrella policy because, in today’s culture, lawsuits are common, and their amounts vary greatly. It is a real possibility you will be sued if you are ever found at fault for a auto accident, mishap on your property, or a serious accident halfway around the world. Be wise and Protect What You Have.

Case Studies: Real Life Tragedies

He was a crusty old boat captain, reminiscent of the fishing boat skipper in the movie Jaws. He was also an instructor for a boat licensing course. This would-be Jimmy Buffett had lots of stories to tell, but the most vivid one was a boating incident that occurred just a few years ago. Seems a young man was using his Jet Ski to splash water on a potential girlfriend as she sunbathed on her dock. But the young man had downed a few too many cold ones earlier in the day and accidentally hit the accelerator. The Jet Ski jumped the dock and ran over her, killing her. Now the captain was talking about boat safety and didn’t mention if the young man and/or his parents got sued but, chances are, they did. Just like the folks in these other tragedies.

  • In Louisiana, an insured teenager’s son was driving his younger sister and her friend to the movies. He lost control of the vehicle, left the road and hit a telephone pole. The friend permanently lost the use of her right arm and suffered severe brain injuries resulting in permanent brain damage. The claim was settled for $1,350,000.
  • A 41-year-old periodontist suffered injuries to his face and fingers following a head-on automobile accident. A California jury assessed the defendant damages of $576,000.
  • Two friends were on a hunting trip in the Connecticut woods when the defendant’s gun accidentally discharged. The victim was struck in the eye by a pellet. In an out of-court settlement, the defendant agreed to pay damages of $192,000.

Sadly, tragedies happen every day, and no one can predict if they may be involved in one or even the accidental cause of one. But everyone can prepare for that eventuality by making sure they are protected from potential liability by having a personal umbrella policy.

Ernest Del Duke, Jr.

Ernest is the third generation owner of the Del Duke Insurance Group. He grew up in the insurance industry, working in this field before, during, and after his undergraduate and graduate studies. He has been involved in every aspect of the company’s operations, growing it from two employees and one insurance carrier in 1997 to where it is today. Ernest holds a Bachelor of Science in Finance from Rutgers University School of Business, a Certification from Rutgers Supervisory Management Graduate Program, and the AAI accreditation from the Insurance Institute of America. He also has served as the Chairman of The Cherry Hill Chamber of Commerce, has served on the Board of Trustees for Sustainable Cherry Hill, and has served on the Board of directors of the Independent Insurance Agents & Brokers of Southern New Jersey. He currently is a member of the Camden County Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors, a member of the Delaware Valley Business Leaders Alliance, a member of Cherry Hill Township Mayor’s Business Council, a member of the Partnership for Haddonfield, and is involved with several school and local kids athletics associations in Haddonfield, where he and his wife Vanessa, two boys Andrew & Harrison, and dog Frank live.

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