As insurance prices continue to rise, many people are looking for more and better insurance coverage for less money, and “umbrella policies” are often a good option for increasing coverage. Umbrella policies get their name from the coverage they offer: Like an umbrella, they provide expansive coverage for you and your assets. Umbrella policies act as a kind of backup for your primary insurance and can provide a cost-effective way of increasing your insurance coverage.

Most of us carry several kinds of liability insurance policies: car insurance, homeowner’s insurance, renter’s insurance, etc. All of these different policies do essentially the same thing: They cover us for the different careless acts we might commit. However, the coverage available under these different policies varies, and their cost is often very expensive compared with the coverage they provide.

Umbrella policies begin where other insurance ends. They provide additional coverage—coverage that is available only after the underlying liability policy has been exhausted. Umbrella policies are often surprisingly inexpensive, given that they can provide additional coverage in amounts up to $1 million or more. The reason umbrella policies are relatively inexpensive is that they are asked to cover only the largest of claims. Because of this, the number of claims brought against umbrella policies is lower than the number of claims brought against “ regular” policies.

As with any kind of insurance, the coverage offered by umbrella policies and the rates charged for them can vary greatly. Consider the possibility of buying an umbrella policy. You may find that it is right for you.

What is written here is not legal advice. You should consult your attorney before applying any of this information to a specific situation.