What is Business Umbrella Insurance, and Do You Need it?



business umbrella insurance

A business umbrella insurance policy adds more coverage to any existing liability policies you have. It covers liability claims that go above your coverage limits. It’s additional liability protection.

What is Umbrella Insurance for Business?

Commercial umbrella insurance provides an added layer of protection for small businesses, similar to the way business liability insurance functions.

It becomes crucial when unexpected expenses arise, including legal fees, medical costs related to injuries, and other unforeseen liabilities.




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Importantly, commercial umbrella insurance doesn’t operate in isolation. It’s designed to complement and extend other liability insurance policies, such as general liability insurance, by covering costs that exceed their limits.

Read More: Types of Business Insurance

Does My Business Need an Umbrella Policy?

Business needs an umbrella policy for additional coverage.

  • If the public goes on your commercial property.
  • If anyone you employ works on other people’s property.
  • If a government contract requires umbrella coverage, most do.

If your business might get sued. In other words, most can use this additional layer to cover the financial risk from lawsuits.


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business umbrella insurance

Why You Should Have Umbrella Insurance

Commercial umbrella insurance covers what other policies miss.

Here are five other reasons why you need this extra liability coverage.

  • Got lots of foot traffic? This covers liability risk.
  • Got lots of vehicles? An umbrella policy offers auto insurance.
  • Use dangerous equipment? Umbrella policies cover employees’ severe injury claims, it is great for construction businesses.
  • Need to land a big contract? Extra coverage through an umbrella insurance policy helps satisfy bigger clients.
  • Is a lawsuit escalating? An umbrella insurance policy steps in when you exceed your coverage limits.

What is Covered by Business Umbrella Insurance?

A commercial umbrella policy needs to be comprehensive. Look through these different types of business insurance for reference.



Read More: Business Insurance Benefits

A business should check to be sure it has the following:

Liability Coverage

When your business faces potential legal challenges, having commercial umbrella insurance can be a lifesaver. Whether it’s a claim related to property damage or personal injuries, these policies step in to address liabilities that could financially cripple a business.

By choosing an umbrella policy, businesses can increase the liability limits beyond those provided by their standard general liability coverage.



This enhancement ensures that businesses can tackle larger claims without straining their resources.

Global Coverage

In our digitally connected world, many small businesses operate beyond their physical borders, engaging with global audiences through online platforms.

Such expansive operations present unique risks, especially when dealing with customers from different countries and legal jurisdictions. There might be situations where a standard liability policy falls short of providing adequate protection.

That’s where commercial umbrella insurance shines—it fills in those coverage gaps, ensuring that businesses remain protected even when operating on a global scale.



If your current location or insurance provider doesn’t offer this level of protection, it’s worth exploring options with other insurers. Thorough research can equip you with the best policy, preventing undesirable outcomes in case of unexpected global liabilities.

business umbrella insurance

Property Damage

When it comes to safeguarding the tangible assets of your business, considering additional financial protection is a wise move. This could mean securing a policy that takes into account damages to essential business equipment or other valuable items your enterprise possesses.

Within the scope of umbrella insurance for property damage, the coverage typically extends to two primary categories: ‘loss of use’ and ‘bodily injury’. ‘Loss of use’ pertains to scenarios where your business assets become temporarily unusable due to damages, impacting your operations.



On the other hand, the ‘bodily injury’ category kicks in when someone gets injured due to your business assets, necessitating compensation.

Medical Expenses

In the realm of business, unforeseen events like accidents resulting in injuries can lead to hefty medical bills. Extending your existing liability insurance to cover such medical expenses is a strategic decision.

With the added layer of a commercial umbrella insurance policy, your small business gains robust protection against bodily injury claims that could otherwise financially strain your operations.

As you delve into the world of commercial umbrella insurance, it’s essential to have a clear understanding of the various components it can cover.



Engaging in a detailed discussion with potential insurance providers will give you insights into the specific requirements and protections tailored to your business’s unique needs. Always remember to ask pointed questions to ensure you’re adequately covered.

business umbrella insurance

What is Not Covered by Umbrella Insurance for Business?

Commercial umbrella insurance supplies coverage to look after business operations when you’re located on someone else’s property. But any small business insurance policy won’t cover everything. These professional services are no exception.

Here’s a list of what a commercial umbrella policy doesn’t have.



Claims Above Your Commercial Umbrella Insurance Limits

While commercial umbrella insurance provides an additional layer of financial protection, it’s crucial to remember that every policy has its maximum coverage limit. If claims arise that exceed these predetermined limits, the financial responsibility falls squarely on the business.

As a business owner, it’s essential to be aware of these limits and anticipate potential financial implications. Before finalizing a policy, make an informed decision by consulting with potential insurance providers to fully understand the coverage boundaries and any associated costs.

Errors and Omissions

In the course of business operations, inadvertent mistakes and oversights can occur. Typically, commercial umbrella insurance doesn’t encompass such errors and omissions.

To safeguard your business from potential financial repercussions resulting from such unintentional lapses, it’s prudent to maintain a cash reserve.



This reserve acts as a buffer, complementing your umbrella insurance, ensuring that your business remains financially stable even in unexpected situations.

Crime

Commercial umbrella insurance has its constraints, especially when it comes to illegal activities. If any illicit actions are undertaken by the business owner or its employees, the umbrella policy won’t provide any coverage.

Business owners should be cognizant of these limitations and instill a culture of compliance and integrity within their operations.

Property You Own

One common misconception is that commercial umbrella insurance encompasses property damage, especially regarding owned assets. However, this is not the case. For damages to assets that your business owns, you’ll need to turn to dedicated property insurance policies.



It’s vital to differentiate between these types of coverage and ensure that your assets are adequately protected against potential damages.

Your Business, If You Don’t Have Proper Underlying Policies

For commercial umbrella insurance to be effective, it cannot stand alone. A foundational general liability insurance policy is imperative, serving as the primary layer of defense against claims.

This base coverage is non-negotiable and acts as the groundwork upon which additional umbrella policies can be built. As a business owner, ensuring that you have this underlying coverage in place is not just advisable; it’s essential for the comprehensive protection of your enterprise.

Commercial Umbrella Insurance Cost

One of the bottom lines for a small business is the commercial umbrella insurance policies’ cost. Off the top, this kind of liability insurance with 1 million dollars in coverage costs just a couple hundred dollars a year.

Remember commercial umbrella insurance doesn’t work by itself. It needs to piggyback on other liability insurance policies. For example, umbrella insurance cost depends on what you pay for other liability insurance.

According to HowMuch.net, there is a low-end and high-end involved. The high-end applies to the construction industry as well as doctors and lawyers. It will run you about $2500 a year and up. The low-end for this type of insurance costs as little as $200-$400 a year. That can include self-employed people who need low liability.

How to Choose the Right Umbrella Insurance for Small Business

For many businesses, it comes down to choosing the right indemnity company.

Here are five ways that you can choose a commercial umbrella policy that’s right for your business.

Decide on Your Risk

The amount of commercial umbrella insurance you’ll need depends on your industry. Computer stores and gun shops as well as anything in the construction and mining industries qualifies as high risk.

The higher the risk the more commercial umbrella insurance you’ll need.

Check Your Net Worth

Generally, you should have commercial umbrella insurance that equals your net worth.

Ask About Bundles

Ask any insurance company you are considering about bundling these policies. Remember you need an underlying policy to start with.

Check Self-Insured Retention

Make sure to ask the insurance company about this. It’s the amount you need to pay before the policy kicks in.

Make Sure You’re Getting An Umbrella Policy

Make sure to get what you’re paying for from the insurance company that draws up these policies.  Some call it an umbrella policy when it’s something else. Terms are different depending on the insurance company you use.

business umbrella insurance

Best Umbrella Insurance Providers for Small Businesses

Choosing the best insurance company is about more than just looking to save money. Here’s a list of some of the best in the industry.

1. Travelers

Lots of different options. Like auto liability coverage for businesses with employees who drive on the clock. Good for SMBs having a hard time getting a business umbrella policy.

2. Allstate

Medical expenses from bodily injury claims are covered. This indemnity company advertises the cheapest rates. Coverage over existing auto insurance is available.

3. Liberty Mutual

Additional coverage is available for business use that expands existing auto insurance. Offers coverage from $1 million up to $100 million for an accident involving the policyholder’s own cars is covered.

5. USAA

Need to have one of their car insurance policies to get umbrella insurance. Aggregate limits are tied to the $5 million policy limits.

6. Geico

This is the best insurance company to deal with when you’re looking to bundle policies. It takes just a few minutes to get started with them.

business umbrella insurance

Is it worth having an umbrella policy?

Yes, because they widen your safety net as a business. Otherwise, something like an injured customer can incur huge medical expenses. Having a commercial auto insurance policy covers traveling sales teams. Restaurants get important coverage for product liability. This insurance adds a layer of protection. Remember you are covered even when your employees rent a space to work in.

How do commercial umbrella limits work?

These policies act like a backstop protecting businesses from claims above other policy limits. The qualifying financial loss is the benchmark for this insurance to kick in.

Most kick in when you reach these thresholds. This type of insurance supplies an extra layer of protection for your small business. Commercial umbrella insurance works by giving you peace of mind for the unexpected.

Does umbrella insurance cover sole proprietorship?

A policy like commercial auto insurance for sole proprietors becomes important as they grow. Adding to a general liability insurance policy is a good idea too. Don’t forget to look into a bedrock, business owner’s policy.

It’s always a good idea to have this type of insurance to cover your business. It doesn’t matter whether you are a sole proprietor or a bigger enterprise. An umbrella policy can protect a sole proprietor from defamation and customer lawsuits. The right additions can replace damaged or lost business property, and even adds income replacement.

Sole proprietors should also include errors and omissions insurance as they grow. This can cover you for data breaches, missed deadlines, and incomplete work.

What is the difference between umbrella insurance and general liability insurance?

General liability insurance covers your business in a number of different scenarios. Your business is kept safe from claims for bodily and personal injury and others. Umbrella-type policies cover you from costly claims when you’ve reached the limits of the other ones.

Your situation will change when you start hiring employees. Then, you will be legally required to find workman’s compensation insurance coverage. This can help your company pay for work-related injuries and illnesses like ongoing care and medical bills.

Overall a policy like this covers defense costs if you find yourself in a lawsuit.

Comparison Between General Liability Insurance and Umbrella Insurance

For businesses trying to navigate the insurance world, understanding the distinction between General Liability Insurance and Umbrella Insurance is crucial. Below is a comparison table that provides a snapshot of the two, emphasizing their primary differences.

FeatureGeneral Liability InsuranceUmbrella Insurance
Primary PurposeProvides basic coverage against claims for bodily and personal injury, property damage, etc.Provides additional coverage when other policy limits are exhausted.
CoverageUsually has a specified limit and covers basic claims.Kicks in after primary policy is exhausted. Covers beyond the limit of primary policy.
RequirementOften a fundamental requirement for businesses.Optional but recommended for added protection.
Stand-alone ProductCan be a stand-alone policy.Needs to piggyback on underlying policies.
CostVaries but often the primary expense.Typically less than primary policy, extends the coverage.

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Rob Starr Rob Starr is a staff writer for Small Business Trends. Rob is a freelance journalist and content strategist/manager with three decades of experience in both print and online writing. He currently works in New York City as a copywriter and all across North America for a variety of editing and writing enterprises.

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