Umbrella Insurance: Your Safety Net’s Safety Net
Think of umbrella insurance as an actual umbrella, providing an extra layer of protection over and above your standard policies. Umbrella insurance kicks in when the limits of your regular policies are exhausted, like in the aftermath of a major lawsuit or claim.

Imagine you're involved in a car accident, and it turns out to be your fault. The other party's medical bills, car damages, and lost wages amount to $500,000, but your auto insurance only covers up to $300,000. This is where your umbrella policy comes in; it will cover the remaining $200,000, as well as any legal fees, protecting your savings and assets from being seized to pay off the debts.

But umbrella insurance doesn't stop at just covering the overflow. It can also cover certain liabilities that your basic policies may not, like false arrest, defamation, libel, and slander. Essentially, it's a broader shield that not only picks up the financial slack but also extends its protection to areas your regular insurance might overlook. However, because of its extensive coverage, umbrella insurance requires special underlying insurance requirements. Evaluate closely with your insurance agent whether umbrella insurance is right for your financial situation.

To learn more about umbrella insurance, review our Umbrella Insurance 101 article.

Excess Liability Insurance: When More of the Same is What You Need
If umbrella insurance is a broader shield, excess liability can be viewed as magnifying your current ones. It provides additional coverage limits to your existing liability policies without changing the scope of what’s covered.

Using the same example as before, if your original auto insurance covers $300,000, you can buy excess liability to extend this limit to a higher amount, say $1 million. But remember, it only increases coverage for claims that your primary insurance already covers, not beyond it.

Excess liability steps in when the limits of your primary insurance have been exhausted, strengthening your defense within the exact parameters set by your underlying policies.

Choosing the Right Coverage
You may not need either type of insurance if you've got the right coverage already, but knowing your personal circumstances is a great first step. Then, asking the question, "Do I need additional coverage?" is simply smart planning.

The decision between the two often boils down to individual needs and risk exposure. If you're someone with a lot of assets, frequent hosting, or significant public exposure, an umbrella policy might be your best bet. It not only adds extra coverage, but also bundles up a variety of potential risks under one protective roof.

On the other hand, if you’re seeking to amplify your current liability limits due to potential high-value claims, excess liability can be more appropriate. It’s tailored for someone who feels comfortable with the coverage they have but desires a higher safety vault ceiling.

Offering Peace of Mind
Opting for additional insurance coverage could mean the difference between sleeping soundly at night or lying awake worrying about “what-ifs.” The costs of additional coverage is often low when you consider to the extensive coverage and safety net they provide.

When considering excess liability or umbrella insurance, reach out to a trusted insurance advisor. They can help clarify how each option either expands or intensifies your coverage, ensuring that your financial future remains protected.

The contents of this article are for informational purposes only. You should not act or refrain from acting based on this information without first consulting a Goosehead licensed agent at We disclaim all liability for actions taken or not taken by you based on the contents of this article which is provided "as is." Goosehead makes no representation that this content is error-free.