Umbrella Policy: Right amount for $7 mil net worth?

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TheClash
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Umbrella Policy: Right amount for $7 mil net worth?

Post by TheClash » Wed Jun 27, 2018 6:55 pm

Liquid net worth = $7 million. Current umbrella = $5 million. Do I need to up it to cover my net worth? Is $10 million the next stop, or will someone do $7 million? Not sure if this background matters: I don't have car insurance because I live in a big city and drive less than 10 times a year (mostly Hertz and Avis where I max out the insurance even though I put it on my Amex Platinum -- trying to be prudent). Additionally, I only have renter's insurance since I don't own my home. Thanks in advance!

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dgm
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Re: Umbrella Policy: Right amount for $7 mil Net Worth?

Post by dgm » Wed Jun 27, 2018 6:57 pm

How does umbrella work?

If you have a 5 mil umbrella and a 7 mil net worth, are you still bankrupt if someone successfully sues for 12 million? or are you only liable for 2m and the insurance company for 5m

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Sandtrap
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Re: Umbrella Policy: Right amount for $7 mil net worth?

Post by Sandtrap » Wed Jun 27, 2018 6:57 pm

I got the best coverage and premiums by putting all of my insurance under "one roof" (USAA). I was able to get an Umbrella Policy for a bit over my entire "net worth" in addition to auto, homeowners, business, etc.
j

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dual
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Re: Umbrella Policy: Right amount for $7 mil net worth?

Post by dual » Wed Jun 27, 2018 7:03 pm

I do not understand making a connection between your net worth and the umbrella policy amount.

AFAIK juries are not told the amount of your insurance or your net worth so the award should not be related. Once a jury awards above say $1 million then the sky is the limit and the amount actually awarded will depend on an appeal to a higher court.

What you are buying is the insurance company's A-team lawyers. If you cannot get the company's attention with say a $1 million policy why do you think you will get more attention for $5 or $7 million?

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Re: Umbrella Policy: Right amount for $7 mil net worth?

Post by golfCaddy » Wed Jun 27, 2018 7:07 pm

80-90% of personal umbrella claims are for auto accidents. If you almost never drive, don't own any dangerous pets, don't have any high risk hobbies, like boating or flying a private plane, and rent an apartment or condo, I question whether you need an umbrella policy at all.

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Re: Umbrella Policy: Right amount for $7 mil net worth?

Post by doneat53 » Wed Jun 27, 2018 7:13 pm

If part of that 7 mil is in a Employer sponsored 401K it would be protected from liability claims as I understand it.

Umbrellas are good for people with young drivers. They mostly provide additional Auto liability coverage since that is the most likely source of liability that would generate a huge payout.

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Re: Umbrella Policy: Right amount for $7 mil net worth?

Post by Traveller » Wed Jun 27, 2018 7:34 pm

golfCaddy wrote:
Wed Jun 27, 2018 7:07 pm
80-90% of personal umbrella claims are for auto accidents. If you almost never drive, don't own any dangerous pets, don't have any high risk hobbies, like boating or flying a private plane, and rent an apartment or condo, I question whether you need an umbrella policy at all.
Or have a driving age child. My umbrella recently covered me after my kid was at fault for a car accident and a claim exceeded out auto limits.

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Re: Umbrella Policy: Right amount for $7 mil net worth?

Post by averagedude » Wed Jun 27, 2018 7:37 pm

5 million umbrella on 7 million dollar assets looks perfect to me. Im sure a commissioned insurance agent would disagree. You cant insure against every possible black swan event in life. You should sleep well at night.

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Re: Umbrella Policy: Right amount for $7 mil net worth?

Post by random_walker_77 » Wed Jun 27, 2018 9:17 pm

dual wrote:
Wed Jun 27, 2018 7:03 pm
I do not understand making a connection between your net worth and the umbrella policy amount.

AFAIK juries are not told the amount of your insurance or your net worth so the award should not be related. Once a jury awards above say $1 million then the sky is the limit and the amount actually awarded will depend on an appeal to a higher court.

What you are buying is the insurance company's A-team lawyers. If you cannot get the company's attention with say a $1 million policy why do you think you will get more attention for $5 or $7 million?
I don't think 1M gets you the insurance company's "A" team. That alone is a reason to upgrade to 2 or 3M, which will really get their attention. The other reason is that a larger amount gives you more leverage against both your insurer and the plaintiff. The way I've heard it explained, consider the plaintiff's point of view. If they can get a settlement for $5M or sue for $12M, which way will they go? A guaranteed $5M now vs the risk and expense of a trial, which may or may not yield the full $12M, and then only after years of legal fights.

Apparently, there's also some legal doctrine about an insurance company's duty to accept settlements or else risk liability for amounts in excess of the policy: https://www.andersonkill.com/Publicatio ... ionID/1338

IANAL, but on other threads, I've seen people who claim to be in the know saying that any decent plaintiff's lawyer would be pressuring their client to accept the sure thing of a settlement. If true, this means the plaintiff's lawyer's interests align with you and your lawyers against the insurance company's lawyers.

I think the takeaway then is to get a $2M or larger umbrella, and make sure that the insured amount is enough that few would be tempted to bypass a settlement for the insured amount to try and go after all of your assets + insurance coverage.

Chris K Jones
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Re: Umbrella Policy: Right amount for $7 mil net worth?

Post by Chris K Jones » Wed Jun 27, 2018 9:33 pm

More is always better, but I would probably be content with 5 million mostly because you don't drive. Just make sure you dont have any other high risk activities.

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Re: Umbrella Policy: Right amount for $7 mil net worth?

Post by AlohaJoe » Wed Jun 27, 2018 9:37 pm

dual wrote:
Wed Jun 27, 2018 7:03 pm
What you are buying is the insurance company's A-team lawyers. If you cannot get the company's attention with say a $1 million policy why do you think you will get more attention for $5 or $7 million?
Some Googling turns up:

Top lawyers bill $1,500 an hour (as of 2016, so maybe even higher now). So $1 million pays for a 3-month case. While I agree that the vast majority of cases probably get resolved faster than that, it seems like the long tail of cases would go well beyond that.

Of course, in-house lawyers don't bill out at $1,500 an hour but I was just trying to find some actual numbers for a back-of-the-envelope calculation to see what might be reasonable.

So I can easily see an insurance company not putting their A-team lawyers on clients with only $1 million policies -- or only calling them in for a few hours consultation -- in order to protect profit margins.

For the OP, I tend to agree that $5 million is enough, unless you are high profile in your local community or industry. I think once you start looking at lawsuits for multi-millions they become hard to predict anyway. If someone is going to sue you for $10 million why don't they just sue you for $20 million or $50 million?

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Re: Umbrella Policy: Right amount for $7 mil net worth?

Post by Big Dog » Wed Jun 27, 2018 9:54 pm

I don't think 1M gets you the insurance company's "A" team. That alone is a reason to upgrade to 2 or 3M, which will really get their attention.
It would only get their attention if a claim was for that higher amount. Most claims are not. Moreover, the OP appears to lead a very low risk lifestyle: no car, no home, no tenants.
The way I've heard it explained, consider the plaintiff's point of view. If they can get a settlement for $5M or sue for $12M, which way will they go?
My best friend, an atty, has made a similar point, but with much lower numbers: they will likely settle for the $1M (insurance limit) then sue for 2-3 x. Even the most rock-solid cases can lose ~25% of the time and the plaintiff's attorney recognizes that. So, $1M in hand for little work, or a full trial for $3M with a 25% probably of zero.


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Re: Umbrella Policy: Right amount for $7 mil net worth?

Post by golfCaddy » Wed Jun 27, 2018 10:02 pm

AlohaJoe wrote:
Wed Jun 27, 2018 9:37 pm
dual wrote:
Wed Jun 27, 2018 7:03 pm
What you are buying is the insurance company's A-team lawyers. If you cannot get the company's attention with say a $1 million policy why do you think you will get more attention for $5 or $7 million?
Some Googling turns up:

Top lawyers bill $1,500 an hour (as of 2016, so maybe even higher now). So $1 million pays for a 3-month case. While I agree that the vast majority of cases probably get resolved faster than that, it seems like the long tail of cases would go well beyond that.

Of course, in-house lawyers don't bill out at $1,500 an hour but I was just trying to find some actual numbers for a back-of-the-envelope calculation to see what might be reasonable.

So I can easily see an insurance company not putting their A-team lawyers on clients with only $1 million policies -- or only calling them in for a few hours consultation -- in order to protect profit margins.
All the discussion about A-team lawyers misses two points.
1) From the perspective of the insured, all that matters is the claim resolves within policy limits. If the plaintiff is willing to settle within policy limits, you don't need an "A-team" defending you. You need your insurance company to write a check.
2) Auto accidents, assuming no criminal negligence, tend to be fact-bound cases. If a dash cam or traffic cam catches you running a red light, there might not be much the "A-team" can do to help you.

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Re: Umbrella Policy: Right amount for $7 mil net worth?

Post by ebrasmus21 » Wed Jun 27, 2018 10:44 pm

AlohaJoe wrote:
Wed Jun 27, 2018 9:37 pm
dual wrote:
Wed Jun 27, 2018 7:03 pm
What you are buying is the insurance company's A-team lawyers. If you cannot get the company's attention with say a $1 million policy why do you think you will get more attention for $5 or $7 million?
Some Googling turns up:

Top lawyers bill $1,500 an hour (as of 2016, so maybe even higher now). So $1 million pays for a 3-month case. While I agree that the vast majority of cases probably get resolved faster than that, it seems like the long tail of cases would go well beyond that.

Of course, in-house lawyers don't bill out at $1,500 an hour but I was just trying to find some actual numbers for a back-of-the-envelope calculation to see what might be reasonable.

So I can easily see an insurance company not putting their A-team lawyers on clients with only $1 million policies -- or only calling them in for a few hours consultation -- in order to protect profit margins.

For the OP, I tend to agree that $5 million is enough, unless you are high profile in your local community or industry. I think once you start looking at lawsuits for multi-millions they become hard to predict anyway. If someone is going to sue you for $10 million why don't they just sue you for $20 million or $50 million?
Defense is generally outside the limits of the policy. That is, the award could be policy limits: $1M + associated legal fees (all of these expenses covered by the insurance company).

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Re: Umbrella Policy: Right amount for $7 mil net worth?

Post by randomguy » Wed Jun 27, 2018 11:12 pm

AlohaJoe wrote:
Wed Jun 27, 2018 9:37 pm
If someone is going to sue you for $10 million why don't they just sue you for $20 million or $50 million?
Nothing. But they need to be awarded those damages. When your kid drowns in my pool, you can sue for 20 million but the law will run a through some formulas and come out with a number. Most of those number are in the <5 million dollar range. There are definitely some outliers in the 10+ million dollar range. For the really large cases there is often a component that goes beyond an accident into willful neglect. I worry a lot about being in a car accident and paralyzing someone. I don't worry about driving drunk and being in a car accident that kills someone.

What everyone would like to see but which I have never seen, would be the distribution of awards. How many 5 million+ cases are there per year of personal (not corporate or workplace) liability are there? How much do I need to handle say 99.9% of the cases.

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Re: Umbrella Policy: Right amount for $7 mil net worth?

Post by golfCaddy » Wed Jun 27, 2018 11:41 pm

randomguy wrote:
Wed Jun 27, 2018 11:12 pm
Nothing. But they need to be awarded those damages. When your kid drowns in my pool, you can sue for 20 million but the law will run a through some formulas and come out with a number. Most of those number are in the <5 million dollar range.
I would be really hesitant to claim there's a formula in cases like that. There's a formula for quantifiable costs like medical bills and lost wages. In some states, non-economic damages may be strictly capped. In others, the award is only limited by the jury's imagination. At some point, an appeals court might declare a judgment excessive, but whether the judgment is $20M or reduced on appeal to $10M still means bankruptcy for most people.

What everyone would like to see but which I have never seen, would be the distribution of awards. How many 5 million+ cases are there per year of personal (not corporate or workplace) liability are there? How much do I need to handle say 99.9% of the cases.
This thread should partially answer your question.
viewtopic.php?t=131550

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Re: Umbrella Policy: Right amount for $7 mil net worth?

Post by boglerdude » Thu Jun 28, 2018 1:32 am

> If a dash cam or traffic cam catches you running a red light, there might not be much the "A-team" can do to help you.

They tell the jury you didn't mean to do it. There was a wasp in the car. An angry driver had just rushed your bumper. You took the wrong amount of your medication. So, no foreseeable negligence. Accidents happen.

If the jury's sympathetic, the plaintiff loses your settlement offer of $1.3M (umbrella plus underlying) and they pay hundreds of thousands to lawyers. And wasted years in court. Cases always settle for the limits, except for bizarre and interesting exceptions like bad faith by your insurance co.

If you feel you need more than 1M umbrella you should also be thinking about your risks in detail. eg get dash cams, security cams, maybe close the pool, etc.

If there are reckless drivers in your household it might make sense to go beyond 1M

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Re: Umbrella Policy: Right amount for $7 mil net worth?

Post by MikeG62 » Thu Jun 28, 2018 6:53 am

markbco wrote:
Wed Jun 27, 2018 6:55 pm
Liquid net worth = $7 million. Current umbrella = $5 million. Do I need to up it to cover my net worth? Is $10 million the next stop, or will someone do $7 million? Not sure if this background matters: I don't have car insurance because I live in a big city and drive less than 10 times a year (mostly Hertz and Avis where I max out the insurance even though I put it on my Amex Platinum -- trying to be prudent). Additionally, I only have renter's insurance since I don't own my home. Thanks in advance!
You don’t have the typical things which give rise to liability claims (auto’s and homeownership). However, you may have some liability associated with the rental - someone get’s hurt while visiting you? Also, could kill someone driving a rental car so there is some liability there.

I am not sure you will find an insurer who works in single digit millions beyond $5 million. At least that is what I found when I asked my insurer (CNA). They write single digit millions up to $5M, and then the next tier jumps to $10 million and then $20 million after that. I pay about $1,250 for the $5 million. When I asked for a quote on the $10M level, the agent said she had not seen anyone get approved for it, but put in the request. I got approved and it came back around 3 times what I was paying for the first $5 million. I declined.

I’d get the quote on the levels you are interested in and see what the insurer comes back with.

How do they feel about your not having underlying auto coverage or homeowners? Do they have liability minimums on the rental insurance? What have they said about rental cars? Seems that worst case (IANAL) you’d have to self insure for the first piece (the portion that would typically be covered by underlying insurance). Not a huge deal given your NW.
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Re: Umbrella Policy: Right amount for $7 mil net worth?

Post by RAchip » Thu Jun 28, 2018 8:00 am

First, the person above who mentioned that umbrella insurance is mostly insuring for a truly CATASTROPHIC auto accident (multiple deaths and long term injuries) is correct in my view. So if you don't own a car, you probably don't need it. The thing with umbrella insurance is that $5mm and under is pretty routine for the insurance companies. But if you have a net worth north of $25mm and 6 kids (many of whom are teen drivers), multiple houses, multiple boats, multiple jet ski's it becomes a very very different situation. That is when you really need an unusual level of umbrella coverage and the work you have to do to get it is extensive. For most people, the chance of having a liability situation arise that couldn't be settled for $5mm plus all the underlying coverage is very very small.

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Re: Umbrella Policy: Right amount for $7 mil Net Worth?

Post by Call_Me_Op » Thu Jun 28, 2018 8:02 am

dgm wrote:
Wed Jun 27, 2018 6:57 pm
How does umbrella work?

If you have a 5 mil umbrella and a 7 mil net worth, are you still bankrupt if someone successfully sues for 12 million? or are you only liable for 2m and the insurance company for 5m
In that contrived scenario, you are out of luck.
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TheClash
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Re: Umbrella Policy: Right amount for $7 mil net worth?

Post by TheClash » Thu Jun 28, 2018 8:02 am

From all the posts here, it sounds like the $5 million coverage is fine. I'll talk to the broker and get a quote on more, but unless it's a good deal, seems like I'll pass. Thank you all for your input.

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Re: Umbrella Policy: Right amount for $7 mil net worth?

Post by Call_Me_Op » Thu Jun 28, 2018 8:03 am

golfCaddy wrote:
Wed Jun 27, 2018 7:07 pm
80-90% of personal umbrella claims are for auto accidents. If you almost never drive, don't own any dangerous pets, don't have any high risk hobbies, like boating or flying a private plane, and rent an apartment or condo, I question whether you need an umbrella policy at all.
All insurance applies to low-probability events. An event having a low probability is not a reason to forego insurance.
Best regards, -Op | | "In the middle of difficulty lies opportunity." Einstein

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Re: Umbrella Policy: Right amount for $7 mil net worth?

Post by amp » Thu Jun 28, 2018 9:27 am

markbco wrote:
Thu Jun 28, 2018 8:02 am
From all the posts here, it sounds like the $5 million coverage is fine. I'll talk to the broker and get a quote on more, but unless it's a good deal, seems like I'll pass. Thank you all for your input.
As a fellow renter, one of the things I worry about is an event which damages the building and/or causes injury to other renters. My biggest fear would be inadvertently starting a fire that consumes multiple apartments. So, when you establish your coverage limits you may want consider your building and what kind of fire protection it has (sprinklers, etc). Another factor could be the other building occupants. Do they also have high net worths and are they likely to have expensive antiques and collectibles in their apartment?

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Re: Umbrella Policy: Right amount for $7 mil net worth?

Post by TIAX » Thu Jun 28, 2018 9:35 am

AlohaJoe wrote:
Wed Jun 27, 2018 9:37 pm
Top lawyers bill $1,500 an hour (as of 2016, so maybe even higher now). So $1 million pays for a 3-month case. While I agree that the vast majority of cases probably get resolved faster than that, it seems like the long tail of cases would go well beyond that.
Your insurance company will not be hiring any $1,500/hour lawyers. It will be more like $200/hour. Insurance defense firms (the firms hired by insurance companies) are generally not the best.

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Re: Umbrella Policy: Right amount for $7 mil net worth?

Post by 1CEBITN » Thu Jun 28, 2018 12:50 pm

Make sure you understand what they won't cover as well. If you start a bar fight or ram someone in a road-rage incident or shoot an intruder in your home you are on your own, insurance will deny your claim. If they can show intent vs accident then you are SOL. Also remember one of the biggest, most ridiculous things in our legal system is it is "free" to sue someone. Plaintiff's lawyers don't get paid unless you win typically so anybody can sue you any time over any thing and some sleazy lawyer will take that case just to see if you will settle vs pay your lawyer to defend you (tens of thousands of dollars for a typical civil suit). The umbrella is good for above and beyond coverage in addition to your homeowners and auto insurance. Anything that would make a claim against either of those policies can be paid out by the umbrella.

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Re: Umbrella Policy: Right amount for $7 mil net worth?

Post by Pete3 » Thu Jun 28, 2018 1:45 pm

markbco wrote:
Wed Jun 27, 2018 6:55 pm
Liquid net worth = $7 million. Current umbrella = $5 million. Do I need to up it to cover my net worth?
As been stated by others, your net worth has nothing to do with how much umbrella insurance you need and discussing it in those terms means you don't understand what umbrella coverage is. This isn't like a buying insurance coverage for your house based on its worth - you aren't looking to replace your net worth in case something happens.

You can't "cover" your net worth with your umbrella policy, you are simply determining the threshold where a judgement against you requires you to pay (after your umbrella insurance company has paid out the policy maximum). $5m means they cover the first $5m, anything beyond that you would pay.

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Re: Umbrella Policy: Right amount for $7 mil net worth?

Post by amp » Thu Jun 28, 2018 3:12 pm

Pete3 wrote:
Thu Jun 28, 2018 1:45 pm
As been stated by others, your net worth has nothing to do with how much umbrella insurance you need and discussing it in those terms means you don't understand what umbrella coverage is.
I'm not sure I agree with this. Seems to me that the more assets one has, the higher the umbrella coverage should be. Shouldn't a person with $2 million in assets have more coverage than one with $20,000, even if both have the same liability risk? The millionaire simply has more to protect.

There's no amount of liability coverage that can protect you from every risk, but I think using your net worth as a guideline is a perfectly valid rule of thumb.

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Re: Umbrella Policy: Right amount for $7 mil net worth?

Post by TIAX » Thu Jun 28, 2018 5:38 pm

1CEBITN wrote:
Thu Jun 28, 2018 12:50 pm
\Also remember one of the biggest, most ridiculous things in our legal system is it is "free" to sue someone. Plaintiff's lawyers don't get paid unless you win typically so anybody can sue you any time over any thing and some sleazy lawyer will take that case just to see if you will settle vs pay your lawyer to defend you (tens of thousands of dollars for a typical civil suit).
That's a pretty simplistic view. Lawyers generally don't take loser cases and, if they do, they'll dismiss them pretty quickly once they see the defendant isn't willing to settle for nuisance value. And to the extent a case is frivolous, a defendant can usually get attorneys' fees from plaintiff.

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Re: Umbrella Policy: Right amount for $7 mil net worth?

Post by Pete3 » Thu Jun 28, 2018 7:41 pm

amp wrote:
Thu Jun 28, 2018 3:12 pm
I'm not sure I agree with this. Seems to me that the more assets one has, the higher the umbrella coverage should be. Shouldn't a person with $2 million in assets have more coverage than one with $20,000, even if both have the same liability risk? The millionaire simply has more to protect.

There's no amount of liability coverage that can protect you from every risk, but I think using your net worth as a guideline is a perfectly valid rule of thumb.
I think the question for someone with $20k is do they need umbrella coverage at all. Once you have determined that you have assets that you need to protect then you need to determine the appropriate coverage amount which is based on the how big a judgement you might face, not how much money you have.

Why would someone with $1m need less coverage than someone with $10m, assuming same liability risk in both cases? Lower coverage means a greater chance that a judgement wipes them out which is the whole point of having umbrella coverage.

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Re: Umbrella Policy: Right amount for $7 mil net worth?

Post by randomguy » Thu Jun 28, 2018 7:44 pm

amp wrote:
Thu Jun 28, 2018 3:12 pm
Pete3 wrote:
Thu Jun 28, 2018 1:45 pm
As been stated by others, your net worth has nothing to do with how much umbrella insurance you need and discussing it in those terms means you don't understand what umbrella coverage is.
I'm not sure I agree with this. Seems to me that the more assets one has, the higher the umbrella coverage should be. Shouldn't a person with $2 million in assets have more coverage than one with $20,000, even if both have the same liability risk? The millionaire simply has more to protect.

There's no amount of liability coverage that can protect you from every risk, but I think using your net worth as a guideline is a perfectly valid rule of thumb.
Sure but should a person with 750k(an amount they really dont want to lose) have a 750k policey(say 75% of cases) or 5 million(say 99.9% of cases)? Now those percentages are made up but you can see why as soon as you hit the point where you dont want to lose your money, you need about the same level of protection independant of net worth.

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Re: Umbrella Policy: Right amount for $7 mil net worth?

Post by Misenplace » Thu Jun 28, 2018 8:20 pm

randomguy wrote:
Thu Jun 28, 2018 7:44 pm

Sure but should a person with 750k(an amount they really dont want to lose) have a 750k policey(say 75% of cases) or 5 million(say 99.9% of cases)? Now those percentages are made up but you can see why as soon as you hit the point where you dont want to lose your money, you need about the same level of protection independant of net worth.
+1 on this. Umbrella insurance is relatively cheap. I recently upped ours from 3M to 6M- the extra premium was only $196 per year. Also part of my calculus was that if we or our kid accidentally maims someone, their medical bills and future costs could be north of $3M. Recently there was a 'windfall' post here on bogleheads about a motorcyclist who lost a leg, and that really spoke to me. I don't ever want that to happen, and intend to take care that doesn't happen, but if it does I want my insurance to cover adequately. Keep in mind that a plaintiff's lawyer may take at least a third of the recovery.

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Re: Umbrella Policy: Right amount for $7 mil net worth?

Post by NoHeat » Thu Jun 28, 2018 10:44 pm

amp wrote:
Thu Jun 28, 2018 3:12 pm
Pete3 wrote:
Thu Jun 28, 2018 1:45 pm
As been stated by others, your net worth has nothing to do with how much umbrella insurance you need and discussing it in those terms means you don't understand what umbrella coverage is.
I'm not sure I agree with this. Seems to me that the more assets one has, the higher the umbrella coverage should be. Shouldn't a person with $2 million in assets have more coverage than one with $20,000, even if both have the same liability risk? The millionaire simply has more to protect.
I agree.

A 17-year-old kid drove a pickup head-on into another car that carried two of my relatives, killing one and maiming the other. The kid was unharmed. She had no liability insurance and was obviously poor. No lawsuit was filed. You can’t extract blood from a turnip.

If it had been an obviously affluent driver, it would have been different.

If you look like you have money, you need more liability insurance than someone who looks like they have none.

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Re: Umbrella Policy: Right amount for $7 mil net worth?

Post by RickBoglehead » Thu Jun 28, 2018 10:58 pm

markbco wrote:
Wed Jun 27, 2018 6:55 pm
Liquid net worth = $7 million. Current umbrella = $5 million. Do I need to up it to cover my net worth? Is $10 million the next stop, or will someone do $7 million? Not sure if this background matters: I don't have car insurance because I live in a big city and drive less than 10 times a year (mostly Hertz and Avis where I max out the insurance even though I put it on my Amex Platinum -- trying to be prudent). Additionally, I only have renter's insurance since I don't own my home. Thanks in advance!
Paying for rental car insurance is simply wasting money.

NoHeat
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Re: Umbrella Policy: Right amount for $7 mil net worth?

Post by NoHeat » Thu Jun 28, 2018 11:28 pm

RickBoglehead wrote:
Thu Jun 28, 2018 10:58 pm
markbco wrote:
Wed Jun 27, 2018 6:55 pm
Liquid net worth = $7 million. Current umbrella = $5 million. Do I need to up it to cover my net worth? Is $10 million the next stop, or will someone do $7 million? Not sure if this background matters: I don't have car insurance because I live in a big city and drive less than 10 times a year (mostly Hertz and Avis where I max out the insurance even though I put it on my Amex Platinum -- trying to be prudent). Additionally, I only have renter's insurance since I don't own my home. Thanks in advance!
Paying for rental car insurance is simply wasting money.
How so, for a driver who needs liabilty insurance when renting a car, but has no car at home, and therefore no regular auto insurance policy? Such a driver has no coverage unless he pays about $15 for $1 million liability coverage offered by the car rental company

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Re: Umbrella Policy: Right amount for $7 mil net worth?

Post by Pete3 » Fri Jun 29, 2018 6:07 am

NoHeat wrote:
Thu Jun 28, 2018 10:44 pm
amp wrote:
Thu Jun 28, 2018 3:12 pm
Pete3 wrote:
Thu Jun 28, 2018 1:45 pm
As been stated by others, your net worth has nothing to do with how much umbrella insurance you need and discussing it in those terms means you don't understand what umbrella coverage is.
I'm not sure I agree with this. Seems to me that the more assets one has, the higher the umbrella coverage should be. Shouldn't a person with $2 million in assets have more coverage than one with $20,000, even if both have the same liability risk? The millionaire simply has more to protect.
I agree.

A 17-year-old kid drove a pickup head-on into another car that carried two of my relatives, killing one and maiming the other. The kid was unharmed. She had no liability insurance and was obviously poor. No lawsuit was filed. You can’t extract blood from a turnip.

If it had been an obviously affluent driver, it would have been different.

If you look like you have money, you need more liability insurance than someone who looks like they have none.
You are raising a different issue - someone who is "judgement proof" doesn't need umbrella insurance - full stop.

This thread is discussing how much umbrella insurance is required by someone who does have assets they want to protect.

The amount of umbrella insurance coverage is independent of how much you want to protect - it is not like protecting your home with insurance.

The umbrella insurance level should be based on your liability risk - how high a judgement before they start to come after your assets.

If you have a $5m policy and $1m in assets and you are hit with a $6m judgement you are wiped out, if you have $5m policy and $5m in assets you would lose $1m of your own assets and still have $4m left. It is the person with a lower amount of assets that should really be concerned about a judgement that exceeds their umbrella policy limit - they stand the greatest chance of being completely wiped out.

Of course umbrella policies while relatively inexpensive are not free so everyone needs to determine their own risk tolerance level.

Thinking that because you only have $1m in assets means you only need $1m in umbrella coverage makes no sense as does thinking that once you reach $2m in assets you should raise your umbrella coverage to $2m.

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amp
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Re: Umbrella Policy: Right amount for $7 mil net worth?

Post by amp » Fri Jun 29, 2018 8:16 am

randomguy wrote:
Thu Jun 28, 2018 7:44 pm
amp wrote:
Thu Jun 28, 2018 3:12 pm
Pete3 wrote:
Thu Jun 28, 2018 1:45 pm
As been stated by others, your net worth has nothing to do with how much umbrella insurance you need and discussing it in those terms means you don't understand what umbrella coverage is.
I'm not sure I agree with this. Seems to me that the more assets one has, the higher the umbrella coverage should be. Shouldn't a person with $2 million in assets have more coverage than one with $20,000, even if both have the same liability risk? The millionaire simply has more to protect.

There's no amount of liability coverage that can protect you from every risk, but I think using your net worth as a guideline is a perfectly valid rule of thumb.
Sure but should a person with 750k(an amount they really dont want to lose) have a 750k policey(say 75% of cases) or 5 million(say 99.9% of cases)? Now those percentages are made up but you can see why as soon as you hit the point where you dont want to lose your money, you need about the same level of protection independant of net worth.
It's fine in theory to say that coverage should depend on your needs, but in practical terms how does one even determine how much to get when we're speaking of such low probability events? Sure, if you own a pool or have teenage drivers in the household you will want a larger policy. But how much should a renter have vs. a condo owner vs. a homeowner? What about someone who lives in the city vs. the suburbs? What if you have one kid vs. two? I looked around the web for some kind of framework to make these decisions and I couldn't find anything out there. In fact most of the online guides use net worth or total assets as a guide.

I find it interesting that the OP is at extremely low risk for a liability claim under almost all metrics, yet no one who has responded to this thread has said that $5 million of coverage is excessive for him. Do you think if he made the same post, but had said that his net worth was $700K, people would have replied the same way?

Edit: Actually, I missed golfCaddy's post. He did say that an umbrella may not be needed for the OP. Still, that wasn't the general gist of the replies, and I do think that a poster with a lesser net worth would have gotten very different responses.

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Re: Umbrella Policy: Right amount for $7 mil net worth?

Post by randomguy » Fri Jun 29, 2018 10:14 am

amp wrote:
Fri Jun 29, 2018 8:16 am

It's fine in theory to say that coverage should depend on your needs, but in practical terms how does one even determine how much to get when we're speaking of such low probability events? Sure, if you own a pool or have teenage drivers in the household you will want a larger policy. But how much should a renter have vs. a condo owner vs. a homeowner? What about someone who lives in the city vs. the suburbs? What if you have one kid vs. two? I looked around the web for some kind of framework to make these decisions and I couldn't find anything out there. In fact most of the online guides use net worth or total assets as a guide.

I find it interesting that the OP is at extremely low risk for a liability claim under almost all metrics, yet no one who has responded to this thread has said that $5 million of coverage is excessive for him. Do you think if he made the same post, but had said that his net worth was $700K, people would have replied the same way?

Edit: Actually, I missed golfCaddy's post. He did say that an umbrella may not be needed for the OP. Still, that wasn't the general gist of the replies, and I do think that a poster with a lesser net worth would have gotten very different responses.
Why would I need MORE liability insure with teen drivers or a pool? My chance of a claim goes up but does the cost of a claim also go up? The high level point is that you either need a lot of liability insurance or you don't. If you want to protect your assets (700k or 7 million), to some extent your need for coverage is the same. But it is hard to figure out that number as we are talking about low probability events (i.e. getting sued) on top of low probability events (it being a large case). The tail end has some very large cases. Protecting against them would be very expensive.

The OP is low risk. That should be reflected in his premiums. But maybe he is more likely to cause a 5 million dollar accident. After all he doesn't drive very often so his skills might be rusty.:) Or maybe living in an apartment has other risks (i.e. his cooking burns down the building causing 50 million in damages, he trips an old lady walking up the stairs,....) that aren't as obvious as driving.There is also the cost factor in making the choice. I am willing to pay a little to mitigate against very rare events but not a lot. If we were told it was 100 bucks for 10 million, everyone would go get 10 million. If it was like 50k, nobody would be buying it. In the ~100/million range people need to think about what they want.

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Re: Umbrella Policy: Right amount for $7 mil net worth?

Post by ncbill » Fri Jun 29, 2018 10:34 am

amp wrote:
Fri Jun 29, 2018 8:16 am
randomguy wrote:
Thu Jun 28, 2018 7:44 pm
amp wrote:
Thu Jun 28, 2018 3:12 pm
Pete3 wrote:
Thu Jun 28, 2018 1:45 pm
As been stated by others, your net worth has nothing to do with how much umbrella insurance you need and discussing it in those terms means you don't understand what umbrella coverage is.
I'm not sure I agree with this. Seems to me that the more assets one has, the higher the umbrella coverage should be. Shouldn't a person with $2 million in assets have more coverage than one with $20,000, even if both have the same liability risk? The millionaire simply has more to protect.

There's no amount of liability coverage that can protect you from every risk, but I think using your net worth as a guideline is a perfectly valid rule of thumb.
Sure but should a person with 750k(an amount they really dont want to lose) have a 750k policey(say 75% of cases) or 5 million(say 99.9% of cases)? Now those percentages are made up but you can see why as soon as you hit the point where you dont want to lose your money, you need about the same level of protection independant of net worth.
It's fine in theory to say that coverage should depend on your needs, but in practical terms how does one even determine how much to get when we're speaking of such low probability events? Sure, if you own a pool or have teenage drivers in the household you will want a larger policy. But how much should a renter have vs. a condo owner vs. a homeowner? What about someone who lives in the city vs. the suburbs? What if you have one kid vs. two? I looked around the web for some kind of framework to make these decisions and I couldn't find anything out there. In fact most of the online guides use net worth or total assets as a guide.

I find it interesting that the OP is at extremely low risk for a liability claim under almost all metrics, yet no one who has responded to this thread has said that $5 million of coverage is excessive for him. Do you think if he made the same post, but had said that his net worth was $700K, people would have replied the same way?

Edit: Actually, I missed golfCaddy's post. He did say that an umbrella may not be needed for the OP. Still, that wasn't the general gist of the replies, and I do think that a poster with a lesser net worth would have gotten very different responses.
Everybody loves a disaster.

When these threads come up you see ridiculously extreme examples of potential liability, e.g. "what if you kill a bus full of neurosurgeons?"

Or quote multi-million dollar judgments...which usually turn out to be default judgments (usually uncollectible) or not applicable an individual's liability exposure, e.g. a business failed to remedy a known defect/hazard.

megabad
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Re: Umbrella Policy: Right amount for $7 mil net worth?

Post by megabad » Fri Jun 29, 2018 2:27 pm

markbco wrote:
Wed Jun 27, 2018 6:55 pm
Liquid net worth = $7 million. Current umbrella = $5 million. Do I need to up it to cover my net worth? Is $10 million the next stop, or will someone do $7 million? Not sure if this background matters: I don't have car insurance because I live in a big city and drive less than 10 times a year (mostly Hertz and Avis where I max out the insurance even though I put it on my Amex Platinum -- trying to be prudent). Additionally, I only have renter's insurance since I don't own my home. Thanks in advance!
Would strongly recommend non-owned auto insurance as I see that as your biggest exposure. For me, umbrella would depend on where you live and what you drive. If you lived in/rented in a billion dollar downtown condo/apt building, I would be inclined to carry a very large umbrella policy as renter's insurance typically offers pathetic liability coverage. If you lived in/rented a mansion, I would have a modest amount (low millions).

When you rent cars, I would rent the modest compact or intermediate sized car to limit my exposure on auto. If you rent a luxury brand, then I would up your coverage extensively. In states with discovery (most states), the ambulance chaser can always find out your assets and coverages, but they will be less inclined to even take on a case if you are driving around in the Toyota Yaris and you pull up to your 1970s split level rental house on the poor side of town. If this doesn't describe you, I would prepare accordingly.

RickBoglehead
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Re: Umbrella Policy: Right amount for $7 mil net worth?

Post by RickBoglehead » Fri Jun 29, 2018 4:58 pm

NoHeat wrote:
Thu Jun 28, 2018 11:28 pm
RickBoglehead wrote:
Thu Jun 28, 2018 10:58 pm
markbco wrote:
Wed Jun 27, 2018 6:55 pm
Liquid net worth = $7 million. Current umbrella = $5 million. Do I need to up it to cover my net worth? Is $10 million the next stop, or will someone do $7 million? Not sure if this background matters: I don't have car insurance because I live in a big city and drive less than 10 times a year (mostly Hertz and Avis where I max out the insurance even though I put it on my Amex Platinum -- trying to be prudent). Additionally, I only have renter's insurance since I don't own my home. Thanks in advance!
Paying for rental car insurance is simply wasting money.
How so, for a driver who needs liabilty insurance when renting a car, but has no car at home, and therefore no regular auto insurance policy? Such a driver has no coverage unless he pays about $15 for $1 million liability coverage offered by the car rental company
Because his Amex provides coverage...

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Re: Umbrella Policy: Right amount for $7 mil net worth?

Post by golfCaddy » Fri Jun 29, 2018 5:21 pm

randomguy wrote:
Fri Jun 29, 2018 10:14 am
Why would I need MORE liability insure with teen drivers or a pool? My chance of a claim goes up but does the cost of a claim also go up? The high level point is that you either need a lot of liability insurance or you don't. If you want to protect your assets (700k or 7 million), to some extent your need for coverage is the same. But it is hard to figure out that number as we are talking about low probability events (i.e. getting sued) on top of low probability events (it being a large case). The tail end has some very large cases. Protecting against them would be very expensive.
At a higher level, it depends on how someone thinks about risk. If a probability of an event is 0.1%, that's something I might worry about. If the probability of an event is 0.001%, then I would treat the probability as zero. If the argument is $500/year for umbrella insurance amounts to noise in the budget of someone with a $7M net worth, and therefore it doesn't hurt to buy it, I can't argue much with that. If the argument is everyone needs to be seriously concerned about 0.001% black swan events, that stems from what another poster called "financial prepper for doomsday scenarios syndrome."

NoHeat
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Re: Umbrella Policy: Right amount for $7 mil net worth?

Post by NoHeat » Fri Jun 29, 2018 7:44 pm

RickBoglehead wrote:
Fri Jun 29, 2018 4:58 pm

Because his Amex provides coverage...
Amex website:

https://global.americanexpress.com/card ... e/platinum

"This product provides secondary coverage and does not include liability coverage."

"This product provides collision damage to the rented vehicle but does not cover such things as damages to other vehicles or property, or injury to other persons. For full Terms and Conditions, see americanexpress.com/CRLDIterms."

elnegativo
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Re: Umbrella Policy: Right amount for $7 mil net worth?

Post by elnegativo » Fri Jun 29, 2018 8:42 pm

boglerdude wrote:
Thu Jun 28, 2018 1:32 am
> If a dash cam or traffic cam catches you running a red light, there might not be much the "A-team" can do to help you.

They tell the jury you didn't mean to do it. There was a wasp in the car. An angry driver had just rushed your bumper. You took the wrong amount of your medication. So, no foreseeable negligence. Accidents happen.

If the jury's sympathetic, the plaintiff loses your settlement offer of $1.3M (umbrella plus underlying) and they pay hundreds of thousands to lawyers. And wasted years in court. Cases always settle for the limits, except for bizarre and interesting exceptions like bad faith by your insurance co.

If you feel you need more than 1M umbrella you should also be thinking about your risks in detail. eg get dash cams, security cams, maybe close the pool, etc.

If there are reckless drivers in your household it might make sense to go beyond 1M
If the "they" in your scenario is lawyers, then you are very badly mistaken. Lawyers are like any other profession, in that some small percentage will be bad apples, but overwhelmingly lawyers would not engage in dishonest behavior. In fact, it is unethical to make a misrepresentation to a court. Even to the point where if your own client, to whom you owe the highest duty, were to perjure him or herself, you are required to report it to the judge. If you don't, you are subject to discipline, up to disbarment. Lawyers don't make up stuff. They don't lie to tribunals. They don't suborn perjury. If you believe such behavior is common, it is because you are believing a caricature of lawyers as commonly portrayed in movies and TV shows.

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Re: Umbrella Policy: Right amount for $7 mil net worth?

Post by boglerdude » Fri Jun 29, 2018 11:50 pm

I meant that if a Boglehead runs a red, there's a reason. Some sort of distraction etc. No foreseeable negligence.

If there's someone in your household who might floor it through a red, or text and drive, go ahead and get 50 million if you want.

The endless umbrella threads are about, at what point are you throwing money away on premiums. Given that cases always settle for the limits and mega-judgements are against companies, where a jury is sending a message.

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Re: Umbrella Policy: Right amount for $7 mil net worth?

Post by TIAX » Sat Jun 30, 2018 12:09 am

boglerdude wrote:
Fri Jun 29, 2018 11:50 pm
I meant that if a Boglehead runs a red, there's a reason. Some sort of distraction etc. No foreseeable negligence.
And why do you think a distraction would prevent a finding of negligence?

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Re: Umbrella Policy: Right amount for $7 mil net worth?

Post by boglerdude » Sat Jun 30, 2018 12:32 am

"Foreseeability is a legal construct that is used to determine proximate cause—and thus a person’s liability—for an act of negligence that resulted in injury. The foreseeability test basically asks whether a person of ordinary intelligence should have reasonably foreseen the general consequences that could result because of his or her conduct.
An easy-to-understand example of foreseeability is when a distracted driver causes a car accident. The average person understands that taking your eyes off the road is negligent and can foreseeably lead to an injury accident. As such, the victim can hold the negligent driver liable.
On the other hand, if a driver suffers a seizure for the first time in their life and causes an accident that injures another person, it would be argued that the driver was not acting negligently because the seizure was unforeseeable. In such a case, the victim’s only recourse would likely be filing a claim with her own insurance company. Of course if the driver did have a history of seizures (or even a recent seizure), then it would be argued that such an event was foreseeable."

afan
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Re: Umbrella Policy: Right amount for $7 mil net worth?

Post by afan » Sat Jun 30, 2018 7:16 pm

I have a good friend who is an attorney with long experience doing defense work, but not personal injury. According to him, insurance companies are expert at understanding the level of risk for a particular case and the level of legal skill required to defend it. They will have a stable of perfectly adequate attorneys who do the simple stuff at very low prices. The attorneys cut their fees in order to get steady work from the insurance companies. The companies also have a stable of lawyers to whom they turn when the circumstances are more challenging. These lawyers can command higher prices, but still have to cut deals with the insurance companies for lower than their regular fees, again for steady work.

He says that part of running an effective insurance company is getting the choice of lawyers right, paying enough to get the quality needed depending on the case. Insurance companies do this all day long and know what they are doing. An individual who has been sued would have no idea which lawyers would be best for their case and would have no chance of hiring them for the prices those same lawyers would bill to an insurance company.

A lot of what you are getting buy purchasing an umbrella policy is ensuring that you have an expert selecting your attorney and paying the fees.

I don't know how much one should get.
When I did estate planning a couple of years ago I asked my lawyer about asset protection, umbrella insurance and other issues. About umbrella insurance she encourage us to "get a lot. It is cheap". She sort of endorsed the notion of matching networth, but said that the cost of extra insurance was so low compared to other asset protection options that it was silly to consider doing anything else before covering the bases with umbrella.
We don't know how to beat the market on a risk-adjusted basis, and we don't know anyone that does know either | --Swedroe | We assume that markets are efficient, that prices are right | --Fama

TIAX
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Re: Umbrella Policy: Right amount for $7 mil net worth?

Post by TIAX » Sat Jun 30, 2018 8:55 pm

boglerdude wrote:
Sat Jun 30, 2018 12:32 am
"Foreseeability is a legal construct that is used to determine proximate cause—and thus a person’s liability—for an act of negligence that resulted in injury. The foreseeability test basically asks whether a person of ordinary intelligence should have reasonably foreseen the general consequences that could result because of his or her conduct.
An easy-to-understand example of foreseeability is when a distracted driver causes a car accident. The average person understands that taking your eyes off the road is negligent and can foreseeably lead to an injury accident. As such, the victim can hold the negligent driver liable.
On the other hand, if a driver suffers a seizure for the first time in their life and causes an accident that injures another person, it would be argued that the driver was not acting negligently because the seizure was unforeseeable. In such a case, the victim’s only recourse would likely be filing a claim with her own insurance company. Of course if the driver did have a history of seizures (or even a recent seizure), then it would be argued that such an event was foreseeable."
I'm not really sure why you pasted that since it states you can be held negligent if you were distracted.

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Re: Umbrella Policy: Right amount for $7 mil net worth?

Post by golfCaddy » Sat Jun 30, 2018 8:58 pm

TIAX wrote:
Sat Jun 30, 2018 8:55 pm
I'm not really sure why you pasted that since it states you can be held negligent if you were distracted.
That reminds me of a Dave Barry quote:
“The one thing that unites all human beings, regardless of age, gender, religion, economic status, or ethnic background, is that, deep down inside, we all believe that we are above-average drivers.”

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Re: Umbrella Policy: Right amount for $7 mil net worth?

Post by boglerdude » Sat Jun 30, 2018 9:38 pm

Unforeseeable distractions. Texting vs wasp as mentioned above.

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