The purpose of an Umbrella policy has nothing to do with rain, but with giving you more insurance protection. This is true for commercial lines insurance as well as personal lines insurance. Most importantly it increases your limits of coverage by defending and indemnifying you once the primary policy has been exhausted. The other aspect of Umbrella coverage, and why it is called ‘Umbrella’ is that it provides coverage in instances that the primary policy does not cover.
A Commercial General Liability (CGL) policy provides insurance for bodily injury and property damage caused by an occurrence. The CGL also has separate coverage for Personal Injury that specifies certain offenses such as Libel, Slander, Wrongful Eviction and other acts. A Homeowner’s policy provides liability coverage for bodily injury and property damage caused by an occurrence just like the CGL. Unlike the CGL, the Homeowners policy does not provide coverage for Personal Injury.
If you post on social media such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Snapchat, Yelp, Trip Advisor, or numerous other sites, someone may take offense at what was said or posted. A negative review of a business on Yelp, Trip Advisor, or a similar site may be cause for the business owner to sue for Libel or Slander. A seemingly innocent, or not so innocent picture posted online may be considered by someone to be an invasion of privacy.
If you rent your home on a temporary basis throught Airbnb, Vacation Rental By Owner, or similar sites, you may unknowingly wrongly evict or enter into a room or dwelling. Or otherwise invade the right of private occupancy and give rise to a potential law suit.
The above instances of libel, slander, wrongful eviction, invasion of privacy are all offenses that are considered Personal Injury under an Umbrella policy. These are also intentional and would not meet the definition of occurrence under a Homeowners policy. For those with a Homeowners or Renters policy, I strongly urge you to look into getting an Umbrella policy, if you don’t have one. The premium is usually small in comparison to the primary coverage and is often available from the same insurance company that has your Homeowners or Renters policy.
Tommy R. Michaels, CPCU, ARM, ARe, AIC
T. R. Michaels Claim Consulting, LLC