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Clarifying Umbrella Policies

The Towson attorney J. Neil Lanzi explains umbrella insurance polices and why they can be helpful.

What exactly is an umbrella policy?

An umbrella policy is an additional layer of insurance that is used after your normal automobile and home insurance runs out.

It is most commonly used to cover medical, court, or other miscellaneous expenses that may be required. However, few people know that umbrella polices not only protect against the usual car and home insurance claims, but can also protect against slander or defamation of character, and decisions you might have made as a volunteer in a non-profit board. The coverage you receive depends on what kind of policy you purchase.


How much does it cost?

Surprisingly, umbrella policies can be quite affordable for the peace of mind they provide. They are inexpensive because they are activated, only after your existing liability under your auto and home policies is exhausted.

Typically policies are $1 to $2 million above your existing auto and home insurance liability coverage. Coverage usually starts at $1 million and can reach up to $10 million. For a $1 million dollar policy, the average annual cost is around $200. 


Why should I get an umbrella policy?

It is easy to assume only wealthy people would need an umbrella policy, but many middle class people will be surprised to know how useful the additional coverage can be.  Umbrella policies protect you beyond the usual expenses of an accident and give you that sense of additional security.

If you ever find yourself in the midst of a lawsuit the liability coverage from your homeowners and auto policy may not be enough.  Unfortunately, if you injure someone in an accident, you may be sued for more than what you actually have in the bank. If a judge grants wage garnishing as part of a settlement, your retirement funds, investments, savings, and even future earnings are all at risk.


When it is useful?

Lawsuits can seriously impact your income. Consider the following scenarios, which although rare, can and have happened to everyday people. In these instances, an umbrella policy would have come in handy.

  • A $1.2 million settlement in New Jersey where an underinsured driver hit a policeman who was completing paperwork at a traffic stop. The driver had to pay legal fees for his defense as well as the settlement.
  • $1.76 million was awarded to a mother and her 8-year-old child in Florida after a wave runner accident injured both of them. The mother needed corrective surgery after the initial injuries were treated.


For more information, please contact the Towson personal injury attorney, J. Neil Lanzi. 

Do Your Homework When Hiring a Lawyer

The Age of the Internet has put tons of information at our fingertips. So much in fact that we’re faced with having to sort through data that matters, and data that doesn’t!

As more mobile phone users access the internet, and use websites and apps to rate everything from pizza delivery to dentists, we’ve become used to doing homework before we spend money on a service or product.

There’s no difference when it comes time to hire a lawyer in the State of Maryland. In fact, the state itself maintains an online database that’s available to anyone.

Called the Judiciary Case Search, this website is constantly updated with legal information that lists the lawyer or law firm that was involved and a variety of details.

The website is very simple to use. You can input the attorney or firm’s name, or look up by case number, if you have it. In addition you can search by case type and court system, along with the particular county in Maryland.

Clicking on a case number reveals all of the legal filings associated with that case, complete with the judge’s ruling or however the case was resolved.

The records also show the case type, and this allows you to immediately see if the attorney or firm you’re going to hire is experienced in a particular area of the law. You can quickly see if they’ve been successful with your type of case.

Searching through the results may help you determine how long you can expect your case to take. Remember that every case is different, but this information will enable you to get an overall idea of what to expect.

Performing your own homework before hiring legal representation is key in today’s world and the Judiciary Case Search provides you with an excellent starting point.

After you’ve gathered up your information, don’t forget that it’s wise to ask co-workers, friends, and family. Their feedback will help to round out the information you’ve already collected.

Meeting with a prospective legal counsel will help you make that final decision. Remember you’ll be spending time with your attorney or law firm and personalities should complement each other if you’re going to find success.

For more information on this resource, you can visit it online.