My wife and I walk to Starbucks every Sunday morning for a light breakfast. We generally sit outside to enjoy the early morning Summer weather. On a recent Sunday, As we sat enjoying our coffee and scones, a small compact car rear-ended a larger SUV at the stop light at the corner. It was a minor accident but it became clear that the driver in the (old beater) SUV was not going to get out of the car. Eventually a fire truck and ambulance arrived. We watched as the paramedics helped the driver out of the SUV and loaded him into the ambulance. The scene was cleared. We all know what happens next.
What if this happened to you? It’s going to come out early in the process that you’re a doctor. For a claimant or their lawyer, DOCTOR = $$$ (whether you have it or not). In other words, the injuries just got worse and the expectations just got higher. What if you (your spouse or kids) really did hurt someone seriously? How would you pay for the expenses over your current auto policy limits? Do you know what they are?
Our answer to these questions is pretty simple. Anyone who has a successful career or the potential for one, needs to carry a personal umbrella policy. It acts as an additional layer of coverage above your auto policy, home policy, boat policy etc. It can be purchased in increments of $1M. For those of you that have your professional liability with Fortress or OMSNIC, you are eligible for a very inexpensive personal umbrella policy with limits up to $25M (again in $1M increments).
So let’s turn this around. You’re sitting at the stop light and another car rear-ends you hard……very hard. You suffer a broken back and can’t practice for 6 months and only part time for 6 months after that. What if you could never practice again? The driver of the car carries state minimum coverage limits. You collect $25,000. Are you good with that? You sue them. So what, they’re broke and you’ll never see a dime.
Again, let’s look at the personal umbrella policy. If that policy includes uninsured and underinsured auto liability coverage, you can collect the judgment against the other driver from your umbrella policy. For this reason, not all personal umbrella policies include this coverage, but the program through Fortress and OMSNIC does and limits are available up to $5M.