THE $11 MILLION DOLLAR MISTAKE:
Do you have a personal liability or umbrella policy? If not, consider the following settlements reported by the Baron Insurance Group:
• A babysitter left a 5-month-old infant unattended in a walker. The infant toppled the walker, struck her head on the floor and suffered brain damage. The parents of the infant sued the teenage babysitter and her parents. The court awarded the parents $11,000,000.
• A 28-year-old engineer dove into a friend’s above-ground swimming pool, struck his head on the bottom and, as a result, became a quadriplegic. He sued both the homeowner and the pool manufacturer. The court found the homeowner to be 60 percent responsible and the pool manufacturer to be 40 percent responsible and awarded $10,000,000.
• An 18-year-old college student was struck by fraternity paddle during initiation. He sustained facial fractures and blindness in his left eye. The fellow fraternity members and their families were sued. The court awarded $1,300,000.
All the above examples could happen to anyone of us. I always recommend any client approaching a net worth of $1mm to purchase an umbrella policy. This policy sits on top of your homeowners and automobile policies which typically only protect your net worth to about $300,000 for liability. If your net worth is $2 million, you have $1.7mm exposed without the umbrella policy. The policy is provided by the same insurer that provides your underlying homeowner and automobile policies.
I have “sold’ a number of these as I work with new clients. I have yet to get a thank you note from a Nationwide, State Farm, or Geico insurance agent. But, I never want my client’s net worth exposed in a lawsuit. What is your exposure to this risk?
Looking for assistance? My contact information is listed below.
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Peter B. Smith is a Family Wealth Advisor at the Planning Solutions Group in Fulton, MD and is an Annapolis resident. He can be reached at 301-543-6008 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.