America is a horribly litigious country. There are so many lawsuits. Each year over 15 million civil lawsuits are filed in the USA. Every business owner is almost guaranteed to be sued. In fact, the statistics say that almost all businesses have experienced some kind of lawsuit and many have more than one in progress.
Multi-Million Dollar Awards or Settlements
Sometimes the lawsuits are frivolous and have no merit. Other times they are extremely serious There may be plenty of liability exposure that might make a jury grant a multi-million dollar award if the lawsuit goes to trial.
The biggest awards make the headlines. On average only 4% of plaintiffs are awarded more than $1 million. However, the numbers are misleading because the vast majority of lawsuits are settled before they go to court. In many cases, the settlements are kept confidential. There is a good reason for this. If a business makes a big payout as a settlement, getting attention for this may attract more legal attacks. Umbrella insurance is a tool used to reduce this exposure for business owners.
How Much Protection is Needed?
The agents at Neff & Associates Insurance Services Inc, serving Pismo Beach, CA and the surrounding area, usually get this question from their clients, which is “How much umbrella insurance should I have?” The unfortunate answer is “How much do you have to lose?”
If the policy limits of commercial insurance are exceeded by a claim, then a business owner may become responsible for the extra amount that has no insurance coverage.
If umbrella insurance is in place for a covered risk, the umbrella insurance picks up where the underlying policy left off to handle a proven claim up to the limit of the umbrella policy. For some risks, umbrella insurance is the only coverage for those types of claims. Umbrella insurance may also help pay legal expenses, so ask your agent about this possibility.
The Net Worth Rule of Thumb
A person’s net worth is the total value of their assets minus anything that they owe. If the net worth is a positive number, this is the value of what is potentially at risk of being lost if adequate insurance is not in place.
For more peace of mind, have umbrella insurance with a limit that is at least as high as your net worth. In that way, for a covered claim, the insurance stands up first to protect you. You do not have to lose everything from a lawsuit if adequate protection is in place.
Lawsuits are inevitable. Business owners need the protection offered by umbrella insurance that is at least as much as their net worth. Many prefer to have double this amount. Contact your agent at Neff & Associates Insurance Services Inc in Pismo Beach, CA by calling 805-773-1710 to get a quote for umbrella insurance and any of your other insurance needs.