When it comes to the lives of movie stars and other celebrities, I have a “so what” attitude and I don’t have much interest in their personal lives. But when a person with this status becomes involved in the subject of managing RisksNThreats, it gets my attention – after all, maybe we can learn something from their example.
Many of you have probably noticed the continuing media coverage of the personal life of a past Olympic athlete. Recently, the media publicized details of his role in an automobile accident in Southern California. Let’s set aside the personal changes this former athlete, Bruce Jenner, may be going through. Instead, let’s focus on a topic that can dramatically affect a family’s lifestyle or ruin their financial future—that of under-insurance for events that can cause bodily injury and/or property damage to others.
A Hidden Danger…
Based on published reports, it’s possible that Jenner could be held responsible for causing an auto accident that resulted in damage to automobiles as well as the death of another person. If this happens, Jenner could also be held responsible for millions of dollars owed to the injured parties as a result of his actions.
Press stories indicate that Jenner’s automobile insurance policy only provided $250,000 for liability to others. If that’s the case, this amount won’t be enough to pay for potential damages as well as the damages caused by the death of an individual. The shortfall in funds would need to come from his personal assets.
…Isn’t Really So Hidden
Unfortunately, as an insurance professional, it’s rather common to find low amounts of coverage in place when we review policies for business owners and high-net-worth individuals. These folks seem to place a higher value on the risk management and insurance programs that cover the businesses they own or manage, and devote little or no time to considering the results of potential risks upon their personal net worth.
When I look back at why the issue of under-insurance arises, I recall some of the most common explanations provided:
- It was never recommended by my advisor.
- No one helped me review my potential RisksNThreats so I could visualize what might happen.
- I never felt that I, or a member of my family, would ever cause a serious incident to create the need for more insurance protection.
- Who wants to pay for more insurance?
We don’t often read about issues of under-insurance like those that Jenner may be facing. The media only finds this issue newsworthy when a celebrity has a problem, and only then do people notice how this situation can affect others’ lives. But are events like this enough to motivate you to take action now? Like many others, you might feel this situation will never happen to you—and you just might continue to live in a fool’s world.
How to Prevent Under-insurance
When a proactive insurance advisor offers a proposal, buyers are often pleasantly surprised to learn how modest their out-of-pocket costs can be. In some cases, they’d pay only a couple hundred dollars a year to provide $1,000,000 of additional liability insurance. This additional protection can go a long way to shelter what you’ve accumulated.
What can you do to prevent under-insurance from affecting you and your family? Get a checkup from your insurance agent to review all aspects of your personal situation. Here are some specific areas you should consider in your review:
- What type of “toys” do you own? Swimming pool, motorcycles, boats, RV, vacation homes, etc.—the more toys you have, the more risk you face.
- Do you have teenage drivers?
- What is your financial net worth? How much do you want to protect?
- Does your profession make you a target? The more visible and financially lucrative your profession, the greater the odds of others trying to get more money from you when you create a problem.
- Are you very social? Do you entertain a lot at your home? More activities mean there’s a greater probability of an event occurring.
- Do you have nannies or housekeepers? When you have employees, you take on the responsibilities dictated by employment laws in your state, and possibly federal and possibly city wide.
- Do you have a home business? This presents a wide scope of responsibilities you may not be insured for.
Take Action Now
The characteristics and activities listed above can make you more vulnerable to lawsuits and create a greater opportunity for risk. These are just some of the considerations you’ll have when determining how much liability insurance you should purchase. There’s no “crystal ball” to tell you exactly how much you need, but a good rule of thumb is to consider covering your net worth, plus a little more. Doing a thorough annual risk assessment with a competent insurance advisor will go a long way toward helping you discover what your potential liabilities may be and the type of coverage you need to protect your family.
Don’t live in a “fool’s world”—instead, talk to your financial advisor and set up a periodic risk assessment, then take action to protect your family, business, and assets.
Have questions? Here’s how to reach me for a no obligation chat: email:firstname.lastname@example.org; office 800-362-6216 x8758; mobile phone 925-285-6790.