All businesses that work with customers must have liability insurance. It’s there to help you if your mistakes ever cause harm to someone else. However, liability insurance does have limits to what it will pay for claims. As a result, you could face a scenario where a claim exceeds your policy limits. No one wants such a scenario to threaten their business. One of your potential safeguards is to consider buying is commercial umbrella insurance. It will augment the coverage within your general liability insurance and other policies.
Understanding Liability Insurance
Someone buys a liability insurance policy to help them protect themselves if they ever cause harm to others. Business owners want it because it will help them protect themselves if they ever make mistakes that harm customers or others.
Most businesses need several types of liability insurance. They usually start their portfolio with general liability insurance. Should the business cause a third party bodily injuries, property damage, personal injuries like libel or slander, or even harm through its products or services, general liability insurance can cover the costs of compensating the affected party. It will help the affected person recover from their losses. Yet, it can also help the business avoid a financial loss as they compensate someone they harmed.
All liability insurance policies will limit when and how much they will pay for a claim. There is no guarantee that the compensation a client expects will stay within the limits of a policy. As a result, if you can’t pay for all their losses with your coverage, then you might have to pay out of pocket. For business owners, this could mean a worst-case scenario and significant financial losses.
In these circumstances, a type of coverage called commercial umbrella insurance might help. This is separate liability insurance from a general liability policy. It will apply to claims in excess of standard general liability coverage limits.
What is a commercial umbrella insurance policy?
Commercial umbrella insurance provides additional liability coverage for businesses facing significant liability claims. It can provide several benefits to any business owner:
- Policies usually offer at least $1 million in coverage past the limits of your standard liability coverage.
- One umbrella policy might be applicable to multiple commercial liability insurance policies. Besides your general liability policy, umbrella coverage might apply to commercial auto liability insurance, cyber liability, professional liability and other policies.
- Many policies will cover liability claims that a standard liability policy will not. If the claim scenario does not have coverage under a standard policy, then umbrella insurance might apply.
How does this coverage work?
Suppose, for example, that a customer slips and falls down a flight of stairs in your restaurant. As a result, they face a significant recovery period, a loss of income and medical costs. Because they feel that a broken step was the cause of their fall, they also sue your restaurant for $1 million.
When you examine your general liability insurance, you see that your policy only provides up to $250,000 in assistance for the injured party. However, the lawsuit demands $1 million. Even though your policy might pay $250,000, there is still a $750,000 deficit that the business might still have to pay. This is a huge sum, and many small business owners could not afford to pay the difference without umbrella insurance.
If your restaurant has umbrella insurance in this scenario, then you might be in luck. First, you will make a claim against your standard liability policy for $250,000. This coverage will pay up to the limit for qualifying costs of the injured party.
However, after the standard policy reaches its limits, umbrella coverage will kick in. If your policy has at least the $1 million in extra liability coverage, then the remaining $750,000 in costs related to the lawsuit will have coverage from your policy. If any of the losses will not have coverage under your standard liability insurance, then your umbrella policy might help you with those costs, too.
The Benefit of Commercial Umbrella Insurance
Many business owners would struggle to pay for liability claims levied against them. Therefore, umbrella coverage will be an added cushion to help any policyholder recover from challenging accidents impacting others. Often, these policies are very affordable, and you can tailor your coverage to fit in with the rest of your liability coverage. However, you might have to buy the maximum limits on your standard liability policies to qualify to add umbrella insurance to them. Still, by buying coverage, you’ll make a way to help you avoid significant financial losses.
Work with your insurance agent to determine the best way to get commercial umbrella insurance. They can help you find the policy that will offer protect your company against even some of the most expansive risks in your industry. If you work with customers in any capacity, then this coverage might prove a great benefit to you.