When you are involved in a serious auto accident involving costly medical bills, the limits on any applicable auto policy can quickly be exceeded. In other words, once the primary insurance coverage runs out, your personal umbrella policy kicks in.

There are two ways an umbrella policy can protect you.

First, if you cause an accident and hurt someone else, the umbrella insurance protects you and your assets against a judgment for damages that you’ve caused. This protection is for amounts over and above your liability limits.

Second, the umbrella policy may also protect you if someone else causes an accident and you are hurt. If the person who causes the accident does not have enough insurance to cover all of your injuries, you may be able to look to your own insurance for underinsured coverage under your umbrella policy.

Importantly, you should check to be sure your insurance company includes uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage as part of your umbrella. Warning — some do not. If you already have an umbrella policy, check with your insurance agent to be sure that you have uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage up to the umbrella limits.

If you do not have an umbrella, you may want to consider one. The coverage is relatively inexpensive compared to home or auto insurance – anywhere from $100 to $300 per year depending on your situation and how much coverage you elect.

If you have purchased an umbrella policy with the correct endorsement, you do not have to depend on a stranger electing the right policy to know you are covered. This is protection that covers you, your family members and passengers in your vehicle when another driver causes serious injury. Many of our clients, after experiencing serious injuries in auto accidents, wish they had purchased this kind of coverage. We routinely advise all of our clients to evaluate their insurance policies to make sure they are protected.

If you have a question about insurance that your agent can’t answer, you may wish to talk with a lawyer.