Umbrella insurance is a type of liability insurance that adds extra coverage to other policies, known as underlying policies. These underlying policies include auto, homeowners, and renters insurance policies. Umbrella insurance is essential for anyone who has a high net worth or is otherwise concerned about getting sued.
Umbrella insurance covers either personal or commercial liabilities, depending on which type of policy you purchase. Car accidents, dog bites, swimming pool accidents, and slip-and-fall accidents are all examples of the types of claims that are typically covered by personal umbrella policies. Accidents that occur in company vehicles or injuries that arise on business premises are scenarios that may warrant the need for a commercial umbrella policy.
While personal umbrella insurance is intended for high net worth individuals or those who are at risk for lawsuits, commercial insurance is a good option for small business owners who wish to protect against monetary damages resulting from third-party claims.
The 6 Best Umbrella Insurance Companies of 2020
Best Overall: Liberty Mutual
Personal coverage limits of higher than $1 million
The purchase of other insurance policies is not required for business coverage
Crisis management support for businesses
Must contact an agent to purchase coverage
Must call for customer support (no email or online chat)
Since 1912, Liberty Mutual has provided a plethora of insurance products and services “to meet its customers’ ever-changing needs.” The company maintains an A (Excellent) rating from AM Best. Coverage limits start at $1 million for personal umbrella insurance to cover liabilities, attorney fees, and other expenses associated with a claim against you and the members of your household.
When it comes to commercial umbrella insurance coverage, Liberty Mutual goes above and beyond as it offers up to $35 million in coverage over Liberty Mutual Insurance’s own underlying liability policies and up to $25 million over another provider’s policies. This means you aren't required to purchase other commercial insurance policies from Liberty Mutual to be eligible for commercial umbrella coverage.
In addition, Liberty Mutual’s unique crisis management support allows businesses to get up to $250,000 in consulting to navigate any brand or reputation issues that may arise as a result of a claim.
Why We Chose It: Liberty Mutual offers high coverage options without the requirement of having underlying policies underwritten by Liberty Mutual, providing extreme flexibility in purchasing and managing umbrella insurance.
Best for High Net Worth Families: Chubb
Very high liability limits (up to $100 million)
Domestic and international coverage
Legal protection if you get sued
Lack of cost transparency
Coverage only sold through agents
Chubb has been around since 1882 and specializes in a variety of insurance products for high net worth individuals. It has earned a reputation as the largest publicly traded property and casualty insurance company as well as the largest commercial insurer in the country. It maintains the highest possible AM Best rating, an A++. The company offers personal and commercial umbrella insurance that ranges from $1 million to $100 million.
Umbrella insurance policies with Chubb cover all legal expenses that stem from a covered event on top of any settlement amount—the legal defense costs are not considered part of the coverage limit. Policies also protect you against libel and slander lawsuits that may tarnish your reputation. In addition, it’ll give you an extra layer of protection if you get into an accident with an uninsured or underinsured driver. While Chubb does not offer insurance in all 50 states, it does have 44 branch locations in various regions throughout the U.S.
Why We Chose It: Chubb offers personal umbrella policies with coverage up to $100 million to satisfy the biggest liabilities for those with the most to lose in real or frivolous lawsuits.
Best for the Military Community: USAA
Coverage for as low as $19 a month
Free online quotes
Online application process
Must be a USAA member to purchase
Only available to USAA car insurance holders
Limited customer service hours
Founded in 1922 by several Army officers, USAA began as a car insurance company. Today, it serves nearly 13 million current and former members of the military and their families with a number of different insurance products. USAA receives the highest possible rating from AM Best, an A++ for Superior financial strength. With its personal umbrella insurance policy, you can get between $1 million and $5 million in coverage for as little as $19 a month.
Only members are able to purchase umbrella insurance from USAA, meaning you must be an existing serviceman, veteran, or family member of one. In addition to being a member, you must also have your auto insurance with USAA to be eligible for an umbrella policy. This allows the company to diminish gaps in coverage and simplify the claims process. USAA members have the option to have homeowners coverage maintained through USAA or another carrier.
USAA offers personal umbrella insurance policies in all 50 states. There is not an option for commercial umbrella insurance.
Why We Chose It: USAA provides military servicemembers, veterans, and their families rates as low as $19 per month with discounts available only to members.
Best for Small Business Owners: Travelers
High liability limits up to $10 million
Domestic and international coverage
Online quotes available
Lack of price transparency
Must purchase through an agent
Limited customer service hours
Travelers has been in the insurance industry for more than 165 years and employs 13,500 independent agents and brokers throughout the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom. The company offers both personal and commercial umbrella insurance for all types of businesses.
Travelers maintains an A++, Superior rating with AM Best, the highest possible rating. Policies are available in all 50 states.
Personal umbrella coverage ranges from $1 million to $10 million. For higher limits, you will need special underwriting. Travelers also offers four types of excess coverage for business owners that includes a standard umbrella, excess liability, monoline umbrella, and excess surplus. Policies start at $1 million in liability coverage and go up depending on revenues, assets, and overall risk.
Travelers umbrella insurance provides global protection on liabilities arising from claims on your home, auto, boat, or recreational vehicle policies. While you are not required to have underlying policies with Travelers, you may receive a lower premium for doing so.
Why We Chose It: Travelers' offers multiple types of umbrella coverage for business owners, making it flexible and adjustable to a small business’ needs.
Best for Bundled Coverage: Geico
24/7 customer support
High customer rating
Convenient mobile app
Must be a Geico car insurance holder unless you live in New York or New Hampshire
Low liability limits compared to other insurers—capped at $1 million
No online quotes
Since its inception in 1936, Geico has grown significantly. While it’s primarily known as a car insurance company, Geico offers a number of other products, including personal umbrella insurance to individuals in all 50 states. The company maintains an A++ rating for financial strength from AM Best. If you’d like an umbrella insurance policy with Geico, you must purchase car insurance from them too—unless you live in New York or New Hampshire.
Geico also requires that you have certain minimum liability limits on your car, homeowners, and boat (if applicable) insurance policies before you are eligible for umbrella coverage. The insurer can provide you with $1 million in coverage on top of your car and homeowners policy limits.
Geico offers a multi-policy discount when purchasing umbrella insurance as well as car and homeowners policies through it. This can save you money as a bundle as well as prevent surcharges. There may be a surcharge for having your home insured at another insurance carrier.
Why We Chose It: Geico provides discounts when you bundle your policies, helping offset the cost of an additional insurance policy.
Best for Avid Travelers: Allstate
An Allstate policy will protect you wherever you go
Covers you during a boat rental
Lack of price transparency
Must consult an agent to get a quote
Low liability limits compared to other insurers
Allstate entered the insurance market in 1931. The company’s mission is to “be the Good Hands” and protect its customers through a variety of insurance products. Allstate offers both personal and commercial umbrella insurance and maintains an A+ rating with AM Best.
Personal umbrella policies range from $1 to $5 million, going up in $1 million increments. These policies specifically cover you when abroad if a claim occurs—assume something like a car accident while driving in a foreign country. Commercial coverage starts at $1 million contingent on where the business insurance is underwritten and the overall risk needs of the company.
Allstate specifically markets to boat owners and those who rent boats while on vacation. Its policies are priced to include boat accident liabilities such as water skiing while staying at Lake Tahoe. The legal coverage extends to any state you have an accident or incur a liability in, making the policy extremely portable.
Why We Chose It: Allstate’s umbrella insurance will cover you regardless of what state or country the incident happens in and for whatever reason, including driving in a foreign county, boating, or RVing.
What Is an Umbrella Insurance Policy?
An umbrella insurance policy provides extra liability coverage for a variety of other policies. It can serve as a supplement to homeowners and auto insurance as well as increasing coverage for boat, rental property, and vacant land policies.
As long as you have one or more of these underlying insurance policies with minimum coverage amounts, you may be eligible for umbrella insurance. You may even find that it’s less expensive to invest in an umbrella policy than it is to increase liability limits on multiple underlying policies.
How Does an Umbrella Policy Work?
An umbrella insurance policy sits over the limits of other policies under it—meaning, the underlying policy will take first position in the claim and then the umbrella kicks in when the underlying policy hits its maximum. For example, if you host a pool party and one of your son's friends slips, falls into the pool, and sustains $500,000 in injuries, your homeowners insurance will only pay to its limits, which might only be $100,000. With an umbrella offering $1 million in additional coverage, you are covered.
The same umbrella policy would kick in if you were responsible for a car accident where the car hit a building leaving $400,000 in structural damages. If the auto insurance only has a $250,000 limit, the umbrella pays the added $150,000 and any legal fees required to defend you.
What an Umbrella Policy Does Not Cover
Unfortunately, an umbrella insurance policy doesn’t cover everything. It pays excess liabilities regarding bodily injury, personal injury, property damage, landlord's liability, and business-related losses. However, it won’t protect you against losses related to your business, personal belongings, oral or written contracts, or any intentional or criminal acts.
Does Homeowners Insurance Cover a Civil Lawsuit?
Some homeowners insurance policies do cover civil liability lawsuits such as your dog biting an elderly lady, but only up to a limit. Many homeowners maintain the minimum $100,000 worth of liability coverage. If your civil lawsuit costs you $400,000, a claim to the umbrella policy is made to cover the excess not paid for by the homeowners policy. Ultimately, it can save you $300,000 or more in out-of-pocket expenses.
How Much Does Umbrella Insurance Cost?
According to the Insurance Information Institute, you may be able to lock in $1 million worth of umbrella coverage for anywhere between $150 to $300 per year. You can expect to pay $75 for the next million and $50 for each additional million dollars of coverage after that.
If you have few claims and don’t participate in high-risk activities like jet skiing or ATV riding, it can be very affordable. Bundling your umbrella insurance with your car and homeowners policies may mitigate the cost as well with discounts.
How We Chose the Umbrella Insurance Insurance Companies
To choose the best umbrella insurance companies, we compared 10 of the top national insurance carriers available. While evaluating each company, we paid close attention to several factors, including liability limits, legal coverage, pricing, the application process, and states covered. In addition, we looked at whether personal umbrella insurance, commercial umbrella insurance, or both are available.