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Home Insurance

• The 17 Perils
• Actual Cash Value vs. Replacement Cost
• Understanding Deductibles
• Documentation of Valuables
• Expanding Coverage
• Floaters for the Finer Things
• Flood Insurance
• Insuring a Home
• Liability Coverage
• The Basics of Homeowners Insurance
• Cover Yourself with an Umbrella Liability Policy
• Insuring a Condominium
• Special Circumstances: Property Under Construction and Rental Property
• Renters Insurance
Auto Insurance

• On the Move: Insurance Protection for Your Automobile and Other Vehicles
• Auto Insurance Basics: Liability, Collision, Comprehensive
• Additional and Optional Coverages
• Who's At Fault?
• Premiums and Discounts: Factors that Affect Your Rate
• What To Do After an Accident
• Getting Your Car Back
• Using Your Personal Car for Business
• Risky Drivers
• Adding a Teen or College-bound Driver
• Motorcycle Insurance
• Watch the Hull: Insurance for Boats and Other Watercraft
• Specialty Policies Insure Fun
• Aviation Insurance
Risk Management

• Term Life Insurance
• Whole Life Insurance
• Universal Life Insurance
• Variable Life Insurance
• Auto Insurance
• Insurance Claims
• Maximizing Insurance Benefits
• Protecting Your Home
• Assessing Disability Insurance
• Types of Health Care
• Additional Liability Coverage
• HMOs and PPOs
• Evaluating Insurance Companies
• Long-Term-Care Costs
• Medicare Coverage

Additional Liability Coverage

Over the last decade, weve seen a dramatic increase in judgments of \$1 million or more awarded to plaintiffs against individuals. In this litigious society, no one is immune from potential lawsuits. Young professional families and retirees alike need to protect themselves from the devastating effects of liability lawsuits.

Elected officials or members of boards are especially vulnerable. Its not unusual for plaintiffs to name everyone connected with an incident by perceived authority, responsibility, and ability to pay.

Personal liability suits sometimes award the future earnings of the defendant. This makes self-employed people, and sometimes corporate officers, vulnerable to personal liability suits.

Fortunately, there is a way to shield yourself. You can supplement both your auto and homeowners policies with excess liability insurance, or an umbrella policy.

For a few hundred dollars per year, this provides \$1 million to \$5 million of protection for you and your household members for negligence claims, libel, slander, or defamation.

And by buying your auto, homeowners, and excess liability policies from the same company, you can often reduce the total cost by as much as 15 percent.

One caution: most individual liability policies do not cover occupational risks like professional malpractice. In many cases, professional organizations like the American Medical Association and the American Bar Association offer group policies for their members. The state equivalents of these organizations are usually quite aggressive in finding group providers to protect their members. In some professions, a local member takes the additional responsibility of helping to administer the group insurance for the states participants overseeing and monitoring the coverage and costs and helping watch for abuses.

Since this is an area closely connected with ongoing litigation, it changes almost monthly. Professionals must follow developments in their own fields closely in order to avoid expensive mistakes. In most businesses and professions, watchdogs are appointed to exercise this vigilance and provide current information.

It is not unusual for a large group to evaluate competitive policies as frequently as once a year to be sure the performance of their groups insurance company is the best they can find for the money. If your organization is like this, dont be alarmed if your group changes companies often. This is a very competitive area.

A few things to look for:

Everyone in your household should be covered, including those who dont live at home.

Your policy should cover physical injuries, libel, slander, invasion of privacy, malicious prosecution, wrongful eviction, defamation of character, and discrimination.

Shop around for the lowest number of exclusions. Many policies will not help you if you are sued as a result of your participation on a board or less formal committee.

Finally, beware of wording that limits coverage to exclusive causes of injury.

© 2003 Emerald Publications

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