These policies usually provide at least a million dollars in coverage to pay for any injuries, property damage, settlements, lawsuits, etc. that the insured is accused of being liable for. Saying that umbrella policies will cover liability is a good way to describe their use, but the only way to really understand their undeniable value is through stories. Real stories of actual insureds that found themselves in need of some extra coverage.

Scenario #1: This scenario involves a landlord who was sued by their tenant. The tenant who was living in the home claimed to have permanent brain damage that occurred as a result of a faulty furnace in the home. The tenant brought forth a lawsuit demanding $750,000 from the landlord. The landlord had a limit of $500,000 for liability on their landlord policy, so their umbrella policy was able to handle the excess. If the landlord did not have an umbrella policy, they would essentially be out $250,000 out of pocket.

Scenario #2: A homeowner hosted a paintball match for their teenage kids and their friends. Safety precautions were taken, and all of the participants wore protective gear. A participant removed her headgear while walking off the field to better hear someone calling her name. She was hit in the eye by a rogue paintball. Her injuries resulted in a $475,000 settlement. The homeowner had a limit of $300,000 on their homeowners policy. Their umbrella policy was able to cover the difference so they did not have to pay $175,000 out of pocket.

Scenario #3: A 28-year-old engineer dove headfirst into an above-ground swimming pool in his friend’s backyard. Upon entry, his head struck the floor of the swimming pool. The engineer was severely injured resulting in him being a quadriplegic. He was unable to work in his high-paying industry in the same capacity that he maintained previously, so he sued the homeowner and the pool manufacturer for his injuries and lost income. The court found the homeowner to be 60% responsible and the pool manufacturer to be 40% responsible and awarded the engineer $10,000,000. This scenario shows that we should always have as much liability coverage as we can afford. There is no limit to the amount that you can be sued for regardless of your net worth or owned assets.

Scenario #4: A married couple hosted a party for their teenage children. The parents did not provide any alcohol to the teenagers, but some of their friends brought alcohol along with them to the party. One of the guests was severely injured in an accident while driving home. The accident was deemed to likely be caused by the consumption of alcohol. The parents were sued and the court concluded that they should have supervised the party and that any damages or injuries caused by the underage drinking were at the fault of the homeowner. The couple’s homeowners and umbrella policies paid out to this claim.

Accidents happen. Both on the road and at home. In either instance, there is no limit to the amount of damage that you can be held responsible for, or the amount that you can be sued for. Having an umbrella policy is a great way to provide some extra protection to kick in if you find yourself in a tough liability situation. If you do not have an umbrella policy, talk to your insurance agent as soon as you can to see what needs to be done for you to have one. These policies are usually less than $300 per year, and can really be a lifesaver if the time comes.

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.