FEDweek

You May Need More Liability Insurance

Many federal employees, especially those with managerial or supervisory responsibilities, carry professional liability insurance to protect themselves in case they are sued for actions arising out of their official duties and the government doesn’t step in as the defendant–an unfortunately not uncommon occurrence.

In retirement, you might not need professional liability insurance but the need for other types of liability insurance doesn’t end.

Your homeowner’s insurance should include ample liability coverage. If a visitor trips on your steps or a family member accidentally causes an injury to a house guest, this coverage obligates your insurance company to pay for your legal defense and to pay any damages, up to your policy limits. You’ll probably want to maximize this liability coverage; often, this means buying $300,000 worth or more.

Similarly, you probably should maximize the liability coverage when you buy auto insurance. This liability insurance, which protects you if you cause an auto accident, is actually made up of two different policies:

1. Bodily injury insurance pays claims if you or a member of your household causes personal injury to others.

2. Property damage insurance will pay if you cause damage to someone’s property.

Auto liability coverage generally is expressed by three numbers, such as 50/100/25. This means that your coverage goes up to $50,000 for injuries caused to one person; up to $100,000 for injuries caused to everyone in one incident; and up to $25,000 for property damage.

State laws may require a minimum level of auto liability insurance but you’re better off paying more for more coverage. You might want to pay for liability coverage of 150/300/50, for example. Other types of liability coverage (medical payments, uninsured motorist) can provide extra protection.