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Milwaukee, Wisconsin

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David Lowe
David Lowe
Attorney • (414) 727-2200

How Big Is Your Umbrella?

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Many car accident victims come to my office with an accident report in their hands revealing that the driver at fault had insufficient or no liability insurance.  The injured victim usually asks: “How can these people drive around without adequate insurance limits?” But when I ask to see the victim’s insurance policy, we usually learn that the victim also has the same inadequate auto liability coverage limits, with inadequate uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage.  As a result, the coverage is frequently insufficient provide fair compensation for the huge medical bills, lost wages, and the victim’s pain, suffering and disability.

 

“No problem, I have an umbrella policy”, the accident victim declares.  But when we check their umbrella insurance policy, we frequently learn that their umbrella does not apply to their uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage; it only provides additional protection for their own negligent driving.

 

A separate premium must be paid to link the umbrella coverage to the uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage. It is usually less than $500 for this endorsement. A recent court case made clear that a Wisconsin auto insurance company must provide its customers with notice of the right to purchase UM/UIM coverage with their umbrella policy, but the notice is often buried in language that goes unread when the renewal notice arrives in the mail and the policy is stored in a drawer.  Good insurance agents know to advise their clients about paying for an endorsement or rider to their umbrella policy to get umbrella UM/UIM. But unfortunately, too many customers learn about the limits of umbrella coverage when it is too late.